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Grey when negative is, well, gray.-
The other day at work, Stephen (Eh! Steve!) sent me the following picture, asking how I did the effect:

I took a cursory glance at it and replied that my camera at the time had a negative feature. He clarified by replying that he was wondering why the car and everything was negative, but the rock walls weren't. Well, first of all, if that was the effect I were going for, it would be pretty easy by cutting out along the outline, turning the picture negative, and pasting back onto the background, all in photoshop.

However, I told him, in this case, it's not a photoshop effect. It's simply a very special case of a negative photo. The negative of grey is gray. On a second look, though, that wasn't entirely the case. I looked at the picture and noticed that there was quite a bit of blue in it, and I figured that maybe it was because Steve wasn't used to the red rocks of Southern Utah/ Northern Arizona where this was taken. I took the negative of the picture (negative of a negative is positive, eh?) and examined it. It turns out that it, too, had quite a bit of blue in it. In fact, the range of red and blue are remarkably similar to the original negative:

In this case, what we actually have is that the muted reds and blues are perfect compliments to themselves. The true color is a little bit bluer (cooler gray) in the background and redder (warmer gray) in the foreground and the negative is opposite, but they both look completely possible, without the context of the negative cars.

uploaded Mon May 09 2005 at 8:06 PM
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mom says:
All things makes for an interesting photo. Positive or Negative
posted Sat September 23 2006 at 1:58 PM


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