Surrealistic Photography

日本語

Kusoku ze shiki

Ku soku ze shiki

I re-invented a new photographing technique. The technique is new in the digital domain but, in fact, the phenomenon itself was known since the early era of digital photography.

I don’t remember the name of the camera but I heard that digital cameras could not capture colours before the Bayer filter was invented so you had to take three shots—one for red, one for green and one for blue—and then they were merged into one photograph. However, if there was moving elements such as clouds, waves, cars, pedestrians, cats in the picture, you get unnatural colours.

Although people tried to avoid this effect to capture natural photographs, I thought it would be interesting to create such colours on purpose as a new way of artistic expression, and so I devised this technique. Let me tell you how to do it in details.

To do this, obviously you need a tripod. Fix your camera on the tripod and take three shots. To get radical effects, the exposure time should be long and there should be some time gaps between each shot. But I use three shots taken in a row as example:

shot#1 shot#2 shot#3

As you see, they’re almost identical except for the clouds and water. I export them from Light Room to Photo Shop as layers.

Screen Shot open as layers

imported

Once they’ve been imported into Photo Shop, you open the Color Channel to use only R, G and B channel of each shot.

red

Specifically, for the first shot, set the Red to 100% and Green and Blue to 0%, for the second shot, set Green to 100% and Red and Blue to 0%, and for the third shot set Blue to 100% and Red and Green to 0%.

result

Then merge them by setting the opacity of the first shot to 33% and the second shot to 50%, Then, flatten the image and hit Command (CTRL) + S. The resulting image is imported back to Light Room.

The brightness of the image will be darker because only one of the three colour channels is used in each shot so I adjusted the image.

lr adjustment

The resulting image is like this. You see moving elements became iridescent colour.

_A056452-Edit

I created the following images using this technique. They’re currently exhibited at Island Gallery in Tokyo. The exhibition is going to end on Feb 26.

3-1L空即是色(パネル)

B1_3-2_予感(パネル)

A3_3-2 優しい荒波(黒額)tif

A3_3-2横 秘宝(黒額)

B1SQ_ASCENSION(パネル)

B1SQ ETERNITY(パネル)

A4_SQ 変幻自在(黒額)

Many friends advised me to not show how to do it but I’d rather want to see how other people use this technique. So I uploaded this post. Good luck with exploring your creativity.

P.S. After uploading this post,  someone kindly let me know that some people used a similar technique back in the days of film cameras. So I replaced the word “invent” with “re-invent.” They typically captured waterfalls with shorter exposure time using colour filters to get sparkling effects.

P.S. (2) I came back from Tokyo and now can access my photos in my HDD. So I upload some more examples that demonstrate the effects of this technique better.

ISO 1600, 4 sec at f/2.8

1st shot: ISO 1600, 4 sec at f/2.8

2nd shot: ISO 160, 300 sec at f/9.0

2nd shot: ISO 160, 300 sec at f/9.0

3rd shot: ISO 125, 600 sec at f/9.0

3rd shot: ISO 125, 600 sec at f/9.0

Adjustment on the resulting image in LightRoom

Adjustment on the resulting image in LightRoom

Result

Result


Kusoku ze shiki

Ku soku ze shiki

超現実的写真

新しいデジタル撮影・現像技法を考案いたしました。と言っても、現象自体はデジタルカメラの黎明期から存在するもので、表現方法として利用する人が(私が知る限りでは)いなかったというだけですが。

具体的なカメラの名前は覚えていないのですが、ベイヤー式のセンサーが発明される前はワンショットでカラー写真を撮れなかったそうです。そこでR、G、Bと光の三原色ごとにショットを撮ってそれを合成していた。ただし、この方法だと被写体ブレするものがあった場合は存在しない色が出てしまうとのことでした。

この話を聞いた時に閃きました。もし、この色をわざと技法として使えば面白いのではないか、と。試行錯誤を重ねた末に幾つか作品として納得できるものができたので、制作方法の基本をここに紹介いたします。

ほぼ同じショットが3枚必要になるので、当然ながら三脚が必要になります。派手な効果を得るには長めのシャッタースピードが必要で、できれば各ショットの時間的間隔を空けた方が良いのですが、今回は3連続で撮影した露出時間60秒のショットを例として使います。

shot#1 shot#2 shot#3

ご覧のようにほとんど変化がない3枚の写真ですが、雲と水の具合が微妙に違います。この三枚をLight RoomからPhotoshopにレイヤーとしてエクスポートします。スクリーンショットが英語なのは何卒ご容赦下さい。

Screen Shot open as layers

imported

そうしたらカラーチャンネルを使って、それぞれのショットでRGBのうちの1チャンネルだけ使うように設定します。

red

一枚目は赤だけ100%で残りは0%、二枚目は緑だけ100%という具合に指定します。

result

そうしたら一枚目の透過度を33%、二枚目の透過度を50%にして一つのレイヤーにまとめます。英語ではflattenというのですが、日本語のコマンド名を知りません。すみません。汗) で、backgroundに全部まとめたらCommand (CTRL) + Sを押して保存します。するとLight Roomに出来上がったものが現れるので、下記のような設定で調整します。

lr adjustment

結果として現れるのは以下に示したようなイメージ。ご覧のように動いている部分が玉虫色に変化します。面白いでしょ?

_A056452-Edit

という訳で、新たに開発したこの技を使って作った作品を7点ほど今回の個展では展示しています。個展は2月26日までなので、興味がある方はIsland Galleryにお越しくださいね♡

3-1L空即是色(パネル)

B1_3-2_予感(パネル)

A3_3-2 優しい荒波(黒額)tif

A3_3-2横 秘宝(黒額)

B1SQ_ASCENSION(パネル)

B1SQ ETERNITY(パネル)

A4_SQ 変幻自在(黒額)

人に真似されるだけだから種明かしはしないほうがいい、と友人たちには言われましたが、むしろ同じ技を使って他の人が作った作品を見てみたいという好奇心が強いので、公開することにしました。個展に来てくれた人たちにはすでに言っちゃってますし。「どうやってるんですか?」と訊かれて「いやー秘密です」なんて言えないですから。

P.S. 浅学にして知りませんでしたが、フィルムの頃にカラーフィルターを使って滝を撮影するという技があったそうです。私も滝でこの技を試しましたが、NDを使ってシャッタースピードを遅くすると却って分かりづらいです。恐らくシャッタースピードは速かったのでしょう。私の場合は長秒露光で時間的間隔を開けるというのが大事です。作例については個展が終わって帰宅したらわかりやすいものに差し替えます。いずれにせよ、この技法をもう少し探求してより効果的な表現を探していきます。

14 thoughts on “Surrealistic Photography

  1. Bob Charlron

    I’d like to say a big “Thank You” for sharing your knowledge. I read somewhere that it is a responsibility of a person with professional skills to teach their skills to other people. It is of course our privilege to learn such skills.

    Bob

    Reply
  2. Bob Charlton

    Yuga San
    You mention in your article that you would like to see how other people use this technique but I do not see a function here how to upload images to show you my results. Unfortunately I do not have either facebook or twitter.
    Regards
    Bob

    Reply
  3. itnok

    Cool! I’ve been using this technique for almost 2 years now… to create color image out of my bw medium format shots on film. I use 4 shots though: 3 for RGB and one to have a consistent high frequency layer (luminance)

    If interested there is an article about my way of processing available online on another well known photography blog…

    Reply
    1. yuga Post author

      Thanks for the comment itnok. Please feel free to put a link to the blog page. I also use four shots at times as this technique often creates images that are too colorful to use. I typically make the 4th image less saturated sometimes monochrome and blend it with the resulting colorful image.

      Reply
  4. w Winters

    I am unable to replicate your example because i don’t understand how you are setting up the Channel Mixer: what is the ‘output channel’ each time you make the rgb adjustment? Could you better break-down the steps for each image?
    for example:
    layer 3: image/adjustment/channel mixer:
    output channel=RED, r=100 g=0 b=0
    output channel=GREEN, etc etc …

    Reply
    1. yuga Post author

      By default all output channels (R,G and B) are set to 100% but you just output to 1 channel. Set the output of the red channel of the first shot to 100% and green and blue channels to 0%, and do similarly to the 2nd (green only) and 3rd (blue only) shots. Hope it helps!

      Reply
  5. bjørnar

    Hi and thank you for sharing your technique!

    I find this very interesting for my work, but I´m unable to replicate your steps. All images are loaded into PS as separate layers in .nef. Selecting my channel mixer and enter the 100 and 0 values, leaves the layer pretty much unchanged (at least far from a red, green or blue result). Any ideas of what I´m missing?

    Reply
    1. yuga Post author

      You have to repeat the same process again to Green and Blue channels by clicking the “v” symbol at the pull-down menu at the top of the Channel Mixer.

      Reply
  6. Helen Day

    Hi Yuga,

    Thank you very much for sharing your “reinvented” technique. I just love the effects you have created. I am having trouble recreating it and I was wondering whether you could help me. I upload my photos in Photoshop and put them into layers. When I click on the Channel Mixer I can’t make it apply Red, Blue and Green to the three separate layers. How do you apply the Channel Mixer to your three different layers. Thanks very much in advance 🙂 Rgds Helen

    Reply

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