Early April this year, we visited the cherry blossom festival in Jinhae, Korea. Tired from being in the crowds and from adoring thousands of trees, we decided to rest in a café before getting on the bus back to Busan. Coffee is very popular in Korea, and there are many coffee chains as well as many trendy little cafés with interiors that any hipster spot here in Berlin would be proud of. We chose one of those, and while Mr. Colors deciphered the menu, I took pictures.
I chose one of those pictures for the One Four Challenge, an event where everyone edits a picture of their choice in four different ways and publishes one of the results per week for the next four weeks. I am going to show you the original JPG from my camera in the last week.
The picture was taken with my Olympus OMD E-M10 and a 20mm prime lens at aperture F1.8, shutter speed 1/160 and ISO200. I worked on the RAW file in darktable, a free RAW editing software for Linux users. In the first week, I selected a high-contrast black-and-white version that emphasized the beauty of the scripture.
For the second week, I brought some – but not all – of the colours back in and added a vignette for a bit of an Instagram feel. The focus shifted from the letters to the hand and it became easier to see that the menu at this place was painted on wood. The image was still heavily desaturated.
This week, I am going to show you how I would normally edit this picture. The crop is a little less extreme since I very much liked the warm colour of the wooden table when I took the photo. Unfortunately, there were some reflections that made it difficult to find the right exposure. To fix this, I increased overall exposure but added a graduated density filter on those areas of the picture that were most affected by the reflections. I increased contrast a little to get a crisper look, and added a bit more black. A major difference with respect to before is that I also increased saturation, for I really like bright colours. Raising the local contrast to one of my standard presets adds more structure to the wood of the table. The colours in the rendered image looked colder than I remembered them, so I also changed the white balance temperature. Here is the result:
I case you were wondering: neither of us speaks Korean. Luckily, Korean has a phonetic script. Letters are combined in squares to form syllables and syllables are combined to words. Koreans can even write foreign words in this way. Mr. Colors, being both studious and drawn to the task of deciphering foreign languages, learned it very fast. According to him, this menu promised Italian treats like cappuccino and caffé latte.