Monday, November 03, 2008

Turn it up to 11

click photo to enlarge
Probably the greatest mockumentary (or is it rockumentary?) was Rob Reiner's, "This Is Spinal Tap", the 1984 spoof film about a fictional English rock group. In a famous scene the character Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest) is showing off his amplifiers, and on being asked why one of them has control knobs with a highest setting of 11 rather than the usual 10, gives the priceless reply, "It's one louder". Thus was born an idiomatic saying that is used to describe something being exploited to its utmost, or to excess -"Turn it up to 11!"

Today's photograph is an example of such excess, though here I stopped the Saturation slider before it got anywhere near the maximum value of 100. However, unusually for me, I cranked it up well past the point where it displayed anything close to true colours. The image shows part of a pair of circular direction signs in a building. Below the arrow, on the brushed aluminium disc, was written the names of the rooms located in that direction. On the other - a painted sign - was further information. I quite liked the composition I made by selecting these simple elements, but the colour wasn't working for me. So, out of interest, I turned the Saturation "up to 11" and was much happier with the resulting effect.

The final image is a photograph conceived as a semi-abstract composition and given a painterly feel, not by applying a ready-made effect, but by excessive Saturation and strong noise suppression. I find the composition, colours and texture pleasing, but it's probably been taken one click too far for the purist photographer!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 23mm (46mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 800
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On