The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, 2010
My friend Carol called me a big tease the other day for not telling you the story behind The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, above.
I wish there was a good story in it. I wish I were clever enough to have arranged the scene this way. I’d be the seaside version of Gregory Crewdson, admired for this meticulously staged tableau, the careful multi-layered arrangement of blue and green buckets and the wind-tossed array of pink and blue chairs framed by the unopened umbrellas, the ocean and the sky.
The truth is that this is the scene exactly as I found it. It’s a children’s play area in front of a resort hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It looks like a strong north wind might have just blown through, tossing the chairs asunder and blowing the umbrellas southward. But I suspect it’s more a case of the beach attendant having tossed all the little chairs and sand toys into the built-up sandbox and hoping that the boss wouldn’t notice.
My friend Gail asked about the color. The color is a result of three things:
- Good natural light cast evenly across the whole scene.
- Good exposure, good lights and darks.
- An advanced post-processing color adjustment made in Photoshop.
The latter is not a trick. It doesn’t create a color that wasn’t in the original image. But it punches up certain colors and gives them a richer saturation that merely changing the RGB color saturation wouldn’t do.
- Start with your original jpeg image. Get the exposure where you want it if the original exposure isn’t good.
- Change the Image Mode to LAB color. (As I recall, LAB color has a slightly wider and more nuanced spectrum.)
- Use the Curves adjustment to enhance the color to whatever degree you want. (A light hand is a good idea. If you overdo it, the image will take on an unnatural look.)
- Change the Image Mode back to RGB color.
- Save your file.
Now you know all my secrets. (To be honest, I learned this one from Dave Cross at a Photoshop workshop. You could ask my friend Alice. She was there.)