SoCo and Kitsch: Experimenting and gradually losing the fear of color and contrast

The Stores of SoCo - Austin, Texas

The Stores of SoCo – Austin, Texas

I’m usually down in SoCo (South Congress) after hours, at night. But last Saturday, I went during the day with my sons. The stores were open and I got to explore the eclectic jumble that makes SoCo fun.

The Fuji X100S worked well. And while I’m now comfortable shooting the camera, with some 15,000 exposed frames, I haven’t always been thrilled with the color. The images onscreen look decent but they look somewhat wimpy when printed.

Lots of Skulls, Uncommon Objects - Austin, Texas
Doll in Library, Uncommon Objects - Austin, Texas

I like saturated color. I’m no film expert but from what I see, film seems to be more saturated yet with a subtle dimension. Digital looks flat and dull to me. That’s why I alter every photo on my computer, whether shot with JPEG or RAW. But, there’s a nagging feeling that the now colorful photos still look digital. Perhaps I need more experience in post processing? The X100S, while having excellent image quality, looks anemic, even when compared to my other digital cameras. It doesn’t always have that rich color that I really like.

Shopppers, Uncommon Objects - Austin, Texas

The wonderful color I’m getting from my 11-year-old CCD based Olympus E1, got me thinking. Is a CCD sensor truly better for color than the modern CMOS sensors? Perhaps I need to tweak my post-processing and experiment. I also admit that I’ve only lightly played with the in-camera Fuji film simulations. My initial tests were inconclusive, so I still shoot mostly in the default Provia mode.

Edison's Art, Uncommon Objects - Austin, Texas
Extra Letters, Uncommon Objects - Austin, Texas

All of the photos on this post are the results of my experimentation. I’ve increased mid-level contrast and added more vibrancy. The results seem promising. I haven’t achieved that film look but the X100S seems more in line with my other digitals. No doubt, I’ll tweak more, over time. My style will most certainly evolve as my tastes change and experience increases.

Incidentally, the Breda, Netherlands night photos I posted a couple of days ago also incorporates my latest post-processing settings.

Alter Egos, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds - Austin, Texas
Machine from another era, Goorin Bros. - Austin, Texas

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2 thoughts on “SoCo and Kitsch: Experimenting and gradually losing the fear of color and contrast

  1. Olympus has such rich color it rather spoils us. For me, getting the depth of color I want involves (1) always exposing for the lightest part of the frame using a spot meter and (2) lowering the brightness a bit (sometimes also contrast) to bring out color and detail. I keep being surprised at how much richer color gets when the whole pictures is a bit less bright. Just a thought. You’re much more of an expert than I am. From my viewing standpoint, the color is fine … but of course, a computer monitor makes it hard to accurately judge any but ones own pictures.

    1. I do like the Olympus color. The Fuji has its plus and minuses compared to Olympus. Getting the correct exposure is a bit different on the Fuji but getting in dialed in. But you’ve shot film for a while, don’t you find the digital color different from film?

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