After years of knowing about it but rarely indulging in it, for some unknown reason I have been strangely drawn to using selective color
— which is sometimes also called “color splash” — when processing my photos this year.
It has all happened by accident rather than intentionally. A number of my photo outings to Portland this year
have taken place on gray, dull days, which resulted in many pictures having too little contrast and very poor colors. Such images are ideal candidates for a black and white treatment.
However, it is possible to take things too far. Even though most of a photo may look great in various shades of gray, there can be a certain part (or parts) of the image in which it would be a pity to lose the color. How can a fire-engine-red fire engine look like a true fire engine without being red?
When I’m out taking pictures, I generally do not have making color splash images in mind — I’m just trying to get the best shots I can under the current conditions. It is only when I am back home and examining the results that the possibilities begin to unfold. I am finding that it is quite satisfying to create an interesting photo from an image that is lacking that special something.
On rare occasions, selective color can happen all by itself. Because of the specific lighting conditions at the time, a picture of a fountain at the Japanese Garden
looks just like a color splash image, even though it basically came out of the camera that way, and was not specifically created during post-processing.
There is a related type of image which is not exactly selective color, but it is close enough that I am grouping them into my color splash category. Some color images almost look black and white because of the particular lighting and the subdued — or almost total lack of — color.
The handful of such photos which I have taken this year (all at the Japanese Garden) have been combined with all of this year’s color splash images (only three taken somewhere outside Portland), and are now presented together in this album.
For further details about the stories behind the photos in this album, see the related articles: