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Niagara Spray: Results


Dan Margulis
 

I’ve posted the first pass of our Niagara Spray study as described below.

 

Reviewing: This is an iPhone capture of a young Italian woman on her first trip to North America. We had allowed her to pick one destination to visit, and she chose Niagara Falls. This image is tricky because the face is somewhat in shadow, yet the background falls are extremely important and should not be lightened.

The image dates from October 2017. Because of its difficulty, I handed it out as an exercise in my ACT class in 2018. The results were poor. A dozen of versions posted today were better than anything the class got, so none of their work is shown here.

 
We have 24 entrants. A 25th that I received this morning was disqualified because it had been downsized in the mailing process.  When a person submitted two or versions, I chose the one I thought was better. Most people also submitted a list of their steps, thanks very much. I haven’t read these, because I’d rather get a sense of who was successful and who wasn’t before investigating why. 
 
The files don’t have people’s names on them, and were random-generator numbered from 401 to 424. As with our last two studies, we also have a “par” version, #425. To get it, I chose what I thought looked like the five best entrants, and I averaged them, each one weighted 20%. This often creates a version that is superior to most if not all of its parents.
 
I’m going to have some things to say about this assortment, but as usual I’d like to open it up to group discussion first. Why do you think this one is so hard? What do the successful versions have in common? Meanwhile, if you’d like to know how your own version stacked up, download the par version and compare the two directly. Do you think you got the same kind of quality? If not, I hope you’ll find further discussion useful.
 
The folder is in the group Photos section, named Case Study: Niagara Spray 

https://groups.io/g/colortheory/album?id=247903 

Because I have a feeling that some of us would like a closer look at these, I also have zipped all 23 and uploaded a 54 mb file to our Files section,

https://groups.io/g/colortheory/files/

 
Search for Niagara_Spray_entries_060820.zip
 I look forward to your comments.
 

Dan


Kenneth Harris
 

From my point of view, this one presented an opposite set of problems from the bridal shot, for which I was satisfied doing things globally: endpoints, curves, input profile choice, etc.  While the census here was that bridal shots should be a certain way, I looked at her expression and decided that the only thing interesting about the image was her anxiety, and printed at a density that would, in my estimation, make the picture appropriate for viewing ten or more years hence, that is, to be judged against the story of the marriage – not the wedding – simply because as a wedding photo, it sucked.  

For the Niagara photo, I could find no aspect of it that made it interesting as a picture, however it is technically interesting in that in comparison to the bridal shot, global solutions seemed to introduce as many problems as they solved.   I quickly concluded that the best I’d get to on this one was a draw, meaning an acceptable image without obvious defects.  One way to asses a win is when people spend more time looking at a picture than was put into working it, but I can’t imagine anyone spending 15 minutes looking at this other than for the task at hand.  

Otherwise, just about every area of this shot is a trap, the water especially.  

Looking par, I’d adjust mine a bit, as expected.

Ken Harris


Bruce Jamieson
 

My notes!

So there’s a lot of problems in this image, but the biggest challenge in this image is to the dude on his phone. His presence, though secondary, is very strong: he’s the only human in the mid-ground, wearing the same color poncho as our main subject (tying them together), and he’s also facing our camera. The viewer begins to question: is he her biggest superfan, or paparazzi? With the falls right behind him, what’s he looking at on his phone that’s so interesting? So many questions pop up. Because he detracts so much attention from our primary subject, he is distinctly problematic. If we could compositionally alter this image, besides removing him, maybe adding in one or two more tourists would help to diffuse his prominence. Instead of thinking about that one guy, we would simply see a gaggle of people, diluting the compositional problem, providing for an easier read of the image. And the viewers’ eyes would get to focus on what’s important in the scene. I really appreciated the attempts seen in 403, 406 and 412, that pushed the guy back in space so he remains out of our headspace. 

There’s a bunch that added tone and color casts to their images: generally the ones that went blue felt at least thematically appropriate for a watery scene. Some went magenta or red, which I feel is the wrong direction for water. 423 does the color tones very well, and so we have a scene that’s pretty dreary (probably accurate) with a still cheery visitor, whose color isn’t dragged down by the rest of the scene.

There’s also quite a few whose contrast and color overall just went through the roof, introducing blotchy colors or fabric folds that look like gravelly canyons. Others seem to have took lifelike colors as a mere suggestion, to discard the familiar and recreate the image as if belonged beyond realm of humankind. Which makes for a strange kind of snapshot. I’m often reminded that, though we have these powerful tools to use, we must show our restraint, lest we create four new problems while we try to solve one.

There were many different styles represented while we lightened our visitor’s face, and it seems that a lot of us who did so were successful.

403: Although not amongst my favorites, I must say I appreciate this attempt to differentiate foreground and background through the use of hue: our visitor is in a very yellow poncho, the background is unambiguously blue, and the dude’s coat hovers somewhere inbetween. Overall it gives a nice sense of depth and feeling of dampness. 

404: Such a happy visitor, but in such a dreary scene. It’s like she’s photobombing a depressing Cure video or something. There’s a lot I like about this one, but there’s just no letting up on the chagrin feelings, and ends up too mid-tone blue for me.

410 added lots of tone to the mist. I do like how it’s almost the same value as the dude, which makes him become part of the mist and out of our mind. But there’s no variation around our visitor, so she, too, is part of the mist. Everything is pushed back, so almost nothing really shines.

My faves are 406, 412 and 423. 406 and 412 have a clear-eyed view that don’t stray too far away from the original, with 412 having stronger saturation and contrast while 406 offers more restraint, plus good separation between the fore/mid/background. 423, with stronger darker values and definitely moodier than the other two but doesn’t give up hope.

425/Par has a lot to like: the pleasant hue differences, has tonality and dreariness but still lets our visitor shine, but for two reasons I’m not such a big fan. It picks up a-channel color splotches and strange noise artifacts in the falls; and emphasizes our mid-ground-man, which takes him in the wrong direction: even the original separates more. 

Enjoy,
Bruce Jamieson





On Jun 8, 2020, at 8:41 AM, Kenneth Harris <reg@...> wrote:

From my point of view, this one presented an opposite set of problems from the bridal shot, for which I was satisfied doing things globally: endpoints, curves, input profile choice, etc.  While the census here was that bridal shots should be a certain way, I looked at her expression and decided that the only thing interesting about the image was her anxiety, and printed at a density that would, in my estimation, make the picture appropriate for viewing ten or more years hence, that is, to be judged against the story of the marriage – not the wedding – simply because as a wedding photo, it sucked.  

For the Niagara photo, I could find no aspect of it that made it interesting as a picture, however it is technically interesting in that in comparison to the bridal shot, global solutions seemed to introduce as many problems as they solved.   I quickly concluded that the best I’d get to on this one was a draw, meaning an acceptable image without obvious defects.  One way to asses a win is when people spend more time looking at a picture than was put into working it, but I can’t imagine anyone spending 15 minutes looking at this other than for the task at hand.  

Otherwise, just about every area of this shot is a trap, the water especially.  

Looking par, I’d adjust mine a bit, as expected.

Ken Harris


Roberto Tartaglione
 

Few short comments on Niagara Spray:
a) quite easy to reveal the shape of the fall: here is the power of Bigger Hammer, but (1° trick), what color the water should be?
I think greenish because it’ murky water, No blue because the sky is cloudy and probably not even Neutral.

b) The more difficult part is the color of the raincoat, what kind of green/yellow? I think the Par version has the best color
But I think that without having seen it, it would difficult to assess. I think the balance green yellow is very subtle

c) the color of the face: I think that in the Par version, is too much correct, in that environment (cloudy, cold) I would have
preferred a bit less red in her face. The question is therefore how much to correct an image?

Roberto


john c.
 

I like 423 a lot, it has all the feel in the water and sky that are necessary to convey the environment without going overboard and the coolness of that part of it makes the skin tone appear more warm and happy which is consistent with her laughing smile. I'm guessing that the par version included this as well as 411 which has a similar skin but is not as effective on the falls.

john castronovo


jwlimages@...
 

This was an interesting challenge, the seeming simplicity of the image quickly becomes complex with color & contrast adjustments for the foreground completely different from the scenic background. The analysis after the Veiled Bride exercise reminded me to try that clever trick of blending my own variations. For one treatment I took the jPeg back into Lightroom, originally to see how the Falls might be rendered through the Dehaze adjustment, but I founds several other aids in LR as well, so it gave me a really good file to blend in with my "Photoshop" version. Saved lots of time - thank you, Dan!

 

As for the range of corrected images, I tend to prefer the colors in the cooler versions, as it looks like the lighting is from a pretty overcast sky and/or some open shade. So the Falls shouldn't be so green (as if it were Pacific Ocean breakers in a storm?). Although the par version seems generally successful, I do think the foreground is a bit too yellow, not only her skin tones, but especially the saturated yellow of the rain slickers - to me it just seems like they should have been dulled down by the cooler color light source. As a last detail, it did bother me too, to see some of the mottled spray highlights & jPeg artifacts having been intensified…

 

It's really cool to be learning so much from these exercises. A big thank you to Dan and all participants!

 

John Lund


Robert Wheeler
 

I thought the brightness of #411 enhanced the happy mode implied by the girl's smile, but perhaps that much light would have made harsher shadows (and the legibility of the guy's shoes does not need to be so literal). Agree the faces seem a bit yellowish. I believe mine was 416, with foreground still able to benefit from a bit more lightness and with the girl's face too reddish in retrospect. When i combine 411 and 416 at 50% each and then reduce yellow saturation a tad in the faces, the result seems better to my eyes than either alone. Will be interesting to see what other combinations produce. One challenge was the yellow slickers have stronger yellow in the seams and folds than elsewhere, while our eyes would usually see the more transparent parts as have more yellow than what the camera records. Several of the entries did a pretty good job of making the thin parts look more yellow. Also, the yellow slicker hood makes the girls face look a different color than it does when viewed in isolation. This simultaneous color contrast was very difficult for me to address.


Dan Margulis
 

I should add a comment from Chapter 16 of the Chevreul book, where I talked about how to know whether an image needs a lot of MMM or similar. That is, when we are so interested in color variation that we don’t mind a hue change here or there.

My basic answer was if there is anything that would cause even a moment of hesitation while the viewer is trying to decide what the image represents, that’s a time for MMM. In other words, if the scene is at all ambiguous, don’t hesitate to change some hues.

I showed one photo and two paintings of Niagara Falls, a scene that is about as ambiguous as a charging moose. It does, however, fall into a second category: where the scene contains substantial elements that a camera can’t capture.

Here’s what I wrote:
***********************

Niagara Falls is an assault on all senses. A photograph can only hint at its immensity. A camera also has no chance whatever of portraying the following:
The thunder of thousands of square meters of water per second plunging downward over rocks and into the river. 

The sudden coolness as one gets closer to the falls.
The sting of the spray on exposed skin.
The smell and taste of the watery air. 

The dynamism, the constant motion, the acceleration, the rapid substitution of one pattern for another, emphasizing the immense power that sur- rounds the viewer. 

Thanks to the spray, the falls live in a perpetual fog. Thanks to minerals being leached from the rocks, the water has a dull greenish tinge not typical of other rivers. 


Dan


Gerald Bakker
 

The hardest part of this exercise I think is the background. How heavy can it be without becoming a distraction? And what color should the water have?

Descriptions on internet (plus a lot of photos) suggest that the Niagara falls are a bluish green. In some of the versions, e.g. #415, they look distinctly blue. That certainly looks fine, and it creates a nice contrast with the yellow raincoats, but is it acceptable? People who know the scene may say "it's the wrong color". I like the backgrounds of #401 and #408. Good detail without getting too heavy.

I think both woman and waterfall are important areas. It's not that one should be subdued in favor of the other. A busy background is not a distraction, or maybe it is, but in real life too, the water would compete with the woman for attention. In versions #406 and #411, the waterfall is reduced to something misty and far away, that doesn't work for me.

The par version is again very good. Just a nitpick: the clouds are on the purple side of blue, and there is some color noise in the water. The rest is very good though.
--
Gerald Bakker
http://geraldbakker.nl


john c.
 

Well now we’re talking about the purpose of the photo and what it’s supposed to say instead of color correction. Is it about this young girl having a fun moment, or more so the falls behind her. Which is more important? The instruction was to make an image that one might put in a frame on a desk. Of course the falls are important, and everyone knows how awesome they are, but should that take precedence over the joy of the moment shown in her face. It’s a delicate balance, but I’d rather treat it like a portrait at the falls instead of falls with people. Maybe if there were more information in the water to begin with I’d feel differently, but there wasn’t a lot to work with in the water to feature it. I thought 423 got it right. It’s not my version unfortunately. I was never there, so I didn’t know about the dirty green, and I actually thought about it really being that color, but I just don’t like it and don’t think it matters to the stated purpose of a nice pic in a desk frame, so I put the falls in more sunshine rather than a storm.
 
john castronovo
 
 

Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2020 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Niagara Spray: Results
 
The hardest part of this exercise I think is the background. How heavy can it be without becoming a distraction? And what color should the water have?

Descriptions on internet (plus a lot of photos) suggest that the Niagara falls are a bluish green. In some of the versions, e.g. #415, they look distinctly blue. That certainly looks fine, and it creates a nice contrast with the yellow raincoats, but is it acceptable? People who know the scene may say "it's the wrong color". I like the backgrounds of #401 and #408. Good detail without getting too heavy.

I think both woman and waterfall are important areas. It's not that one should be subdued in favor of the other. A busy background is not a distraction, or maybe it is, but in real life too, the water would compete with the woman for attention. In versions #406 and #411, the waterfall is reduced to something misty and far away, that doesn't work for me.

The par version is again very good. Just a nitpick: the clouds are on the purple side of blue, and there is some color noise in the water. The rest is very good though.
--
Gerald Bakker
http://geraldbakker.nl


Paco
 

Hi to all! Mine is 403. I'm very happy with the foreground because she looks happy and bright, and so does her poncho. Desaturating the guy in the background, I feel, makes him less distracting. On the fall itself I think I did not get it right at all. From the individual entries, 415 is my favorite as far as the water goes. The Par version is, for me, the best but... I would desaturate the guy in the background and would not push the water as far because there are some ugly artifacts being created on the left side of the falls.

All the best!

www.pacomarquez.com


Paco
 

Forgot to suggest that, even though the water is a dull grey color in real life, a bit of blue would not hurt and make it a prettier picture. Just not go as far as the way the water is idealized in the plaque on the left.


Dan Margulis
 



On Jun 9, 2020, at 12:34 PM, Gerald Bakker <gc.bakker@...> wrote:

The hardest part of this exercise I think is the background. How heavy can it be without becoming a distraction? And what color should the water have?

I agree that this is a difficult choice but at best I think it’s tied with how to lighten the face. By my quick survey (hope I’m not missing one) I rate that only ##403, 405, 406, 407, 410, 411, 412, 413, 418, 422, and 423 have acceptable faces. That’s not a particularly good ratio, and I it’s lower than the number of people with acceptable waterfalls.

Ken Harris is right when he says that this shot is not amenable to a global correction. The face must be lightened but this tends to do unacceptable damage to the falls unless they are masked out. Some people tried to blend the red channel into the RGB in Lighten mode, which would lighten the face without doing it to the water, but there is only so far this technique will go. All of the successful people tried something in addition, such as a false profile/multiplication routine.

Even so, the best faces here tended to be paired with poor waterfalls.

I also agree with Ken that this is the direct opposite of the Veiled Bride exercise (which is why we are doing them consecutively). In one the background is so boring that a near-majority of us tried to suppress it in one way or another; in this one the background is so important that the majority tried to enhance it. In the other there was no color to be had almost anywhere, but this one has many opportunities to brighten things up. Ken also makes a good point that I missed, that the bride’s mood is somewhat ambiguous. Given that there are so few perfect husbands in the world, and that I am already spoken for, she is probably asking herself what kind of mess she has gotten herself into. And who knows how she will feel about this shot in ten years? The Niagara image, OTOH, is about pure happiness, nothing ambiguous about it at all.

I disagree about the importance of the image; I suspect that given the context of one’s first six-month trip to America this is going to be one of the most memorable shots, because few things are as recognizably North American as Niagara Falls, and the pose is attractive.

I do agree that the file is full of traps. The slicker is difficult. In real life, we perceive it as bright yellow. The camera sees it as more transparent and picks up a lot of what’s behind it, or makes the whole thing too weak. The result can be a distressing green. And there are these colorful blotches in the background, typical of many iPhone captures in my experience.

Almost nobody solved all the problems posed by this image. The closest to that goal is #423. Everything else has some kind of weakness, even when there are other areas of strength, as Paco pointed out in the description of his #403. This explains why IMHO the par version is decisively superior to any of its parents, which I didn’t think was the case in the last two studies. Here, though, an averaging of the imperfect yields an excellent result. Paco’s waterfall is too blue, but it is only weighted 20% in the par version so we no longer perceive that the color is wrong.

When I first reviewed these entrants I thought that we did a poor job on the whole, because it was easy to eliminate all but half a dozen or so entrants. On further review I see a lot more near misses, and fewer disasters, than I first anticipated. True, there are a few lemons in this assortment, but not as many as there were in Veiled Bride—and this image is technically more difficult.

Dan





Doug Schafer
 

I was surprised by how many entries had so much color noise in bkgd. Even the par image seemed terrible for water mist and clouds purple noise so evident; tho rest of the image was very good. I immediately judged in my mind that too much noise, so bad even seen at less than 100%, makes an image unacceptable....am I wrong?  Especially since it can be fixed rather easily.

Doug Schafer


john c.
 

I agree with you Doug. Also, I purposely didn’t do anything to downplay the man in the back because he might’ve been someone she met along the way and wanted to remember, maybe even a friend or relative. We just don’t know. I also saw that the water wasn’t looking good no matter what I did and I don’t really like the way it looks in almost all of the versions where it was emphasized, so I downplayed it, maybe to a fault, but I figured that after all, it was a portrait of a happy moment, and not a National Geographic photo of the power of water. Mine is 411
 
john castronovo
 

From: k_d@...
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 11:46 AM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Niagara Spray: Results
 
I was surprised by how many entries had so much color noise in bkgd. Even the par image seemed terrible for water mist and clouds purple noise so evident; tho rest of the image was very good. I immediately judged in my mind that too much noise, so bad even seen at less than 100%, makes an image unacceptable....am I wrong?  Especially since it can be fixed rather easily.

Doug Schafer


Dan Margulis
 



On Jun 10, 2020, at 11:46 AM, k_d@... wrote:

I was surprised by how many entries had so much color noise in bkgd. Even the par image seemed terrible for water mist and clouds purple noise so evident; tho rest of the image was very good. I immediately judged in my mind that too much noise, so bad even seen at less than 100%, makes an image unacceptable....am I wrong?  Especially since it can be fixed rather easily.

I would say that the question answers itself. It is indeed easy to remove these splotches or at least minimize them. The fact that so many of us declined to do so suggests that they do *not* render the image unacceptable.

Dan


R.G. Ball
 

As a long time lurker in this group I just wanted to say thanks to the participants and especially Dan for the case study exercises and the comments/explanations. I’ve been playing along at home and enjoying the comparison of my results to the submitted works. I’m just a hobbyist working on my own photographs and I don’t use Adobe’s programs so it is interesting to see what is possible without using the tools in Photoshop.

Richard Ball


Omar Willey
 

My impression of these entries is that they are neither over- nor under- but perfectly whelming. There isn't a single one I'd be happy with. But there are only a couple I'd outright reject. In that sense I agree with Dan.

The biggest problems Dan notes. This is one of those "Hey, I was here!" images. Since it's clearly meant to be a "keepsake" by a person uncorrupted by Applied Color Theory classes and mailings, the priorities are different. The client here isn't going to care about purple splotches in A/B channels anymore than she'd care about the difference between the Lesser Hammer and the Bigger Hammer unless we make them worse. She'll reject impossible colors like the greenish rain slickers, but defects that most of us spend our lives trying to eliminate won't impress her at all. She wants to be seen to be happy in front of one the natural wonders of the world. And in her mind she'll doubtless have an idea of what pictures taken at Niagara Falls should look like that we'll have to match somewhat. Not much else matters.

In short: The background and foreground have great importance, but different kinds of importance. The background is iconically important; the foreground is emotionally important. There's no way to do both in one version.

Emotion is the key to another problem I see, which Dan once noted in talking about Bryce Canyon: memory trumps reality. He made the hoodoos of Bryce more orange and eerie because that's how one would remember them. Here I could almost tell who had and hadn't been to Niagara Falls by looking at the color of the water. I've been there. It isn't blue, not even bluish. I was there on one of those rare days when it's pure blue sky above. I remember the falls as almost emerald in streaks. But apparently many people want it to be oceanic blue. I'm surprised how many people moved it in that direction. Even the par version tends toward blue/cyan. Would the client here remember it that way?

Another problem I see with lightening the face is that the eyes are still very dark in all versions. Eyes have to look happy here. If our visitor here were blue-eyed, there might be more options, but we're all stuck with this defect. My own version I did not submit added extremely subtle catchlights but it was too corny to be shared among professionals like us.

-- Omar


jorgeparraphotography
 
Edited

I have been busy with online classes so I have not been able to participate in the current and past challenges.  This may change in July. Add to that that I am total rookie in LAB processing and also in the PPW and other Dan's methodologies, ( which I hope to add to my retouching arsenal soon), but there is something curious and interesting I think I can add to this conversation and it is the following:

Several years ago, I was running a photographic workshop at the Fuji massive building back in my country of origin ( Venezuela) and before me taking over, there was (of course) a marketing/selling pitch from the Fuji team, talking about their films, their fantastic Instant film, (nothing beats it to date), but the important thing was the brief presentation that a Fuji " Technician" as they called him, did about color saturation.
He mentioned a large scale test done in Japan in which thousands of people were encouraged to watch something, a painting, a color photo, images on TV screens, images on books,  several flags, etc, etc, and each individual was invited to look at and remember one specific color of choice from the images and then later, they were exposed to the entire Pantone color stripes, and were encouraged to select the color they had seen and picked as their favorite in whatever image they saw before. Think about the red dot in the japanese flag and on and on.

The amazing conclusion was that UNDOUBTEDLY every person did remember the color they chose  but way more saturated than it really was, as shown by the Pantone they selected as their matching color of choice in the images. Then they proceeded to explain that it was exactly that test what have Fuji make the decision of using more saturated colors in their films, and if by any chance you shoot today with one of their digital Fuji DSLR or Medium format cameras, and apply their color profiles, you may encounter the same situation. Even today, I have some friends and peer photographers who still complain about the time they used Fujil slide film because the colors were " off" or too saturated, etc compared to Kodak's films. 

So, if people actually  remember and record in their minds more saturated colors than the originals, this may add to what Dan has been doing with the overly colored images that blend nicely with other weaker  or normal images and enhances the overall color feeling, the emotional ingredient, to the images. It would be then  a "natural color workflow" to create an over-saturated image only for the purpose of blending it in different proportion to a "regular" image, the blending proportion being dependent on the original content.

I keep looking over the internet for such test, and for the life of me I can not locate it. We are talking of a presentation in the early 90's, when the  internet was not yet a large scale thing, or perhaps Fuji never meant to publish that info, but I keep searching for it, now that Dan's conclusions are about the same, only that he arrived through a different road to what seems to be a very interesting exploration on human perception of color.


Jorge Parra


Dan Margulis
 



On Jun 13, 2020, at 8:36 AM, jorgeparraphotography <jorgeparraphotography@...> wrote:

Several years ago, I was running a photographic workshop at the Fuji massive building back in my country of origin ( Venezuela) and before me taking over, there was (of course) a marketing/selling pitch from the Fuji team, talking about their films, their fantastic Instant film, (nothing beats it to date), but the important thing was the brief presentation that a Fuji " Technician" as they called him, did about color saturation.
He mentioned a large scale test done in Japan in which thousands of people were encouraged to watch something, a painting, a color photo, images on TV screens, images on books,  several flags, etc, etc, and each individual was invited to look at and remember one specific color of choice from the images and then later, they were exposed to the entire Pantone color stripes, and were encouraged to select the color they had seen and picked as their favorite in whatever image they saw before. Think about the red dot in the japanese flag and on and on.

The amazing conclusion was that UNDOUBTEDLY every person did remember the color they chose  but way more saturated than it really was, as shown by the Pantone they selected as their matching color of choice in the images. Then they proceeded to explain that it was exactly that test what have Fuji make the decision of using more saturated colors in their films, and if by any chance you shoot today with one of their digital Fuji DSLR or Medium format cameras, and apply their color profiles, you may encounter the same situation. Even today, I have some friends and peer photographers who still complain about the time they used Fujil slide film because the colors were " off" or too saturated, etc compared to Kodak's films. 

So, if people actually  remember and record in their minds more saturated colors than the originals, this may add to what Dan has been doing with the overly colored images that blend nicely with other weaker  or normal images and enhances the overall color feeling, the emotional ingredient, to the images. It would be then  a "natural color workflow" to create an over-saturated image only for the purpose of blending it in different proportion to a "regular" image, the blending proportion being dependent on the original content.

I keep looking over the internet for such test, and for the life of me I can not locate it. We are talking of a presentation in the early 90's, when the  internet was not yet a large scale thing, or perhaps Fuji never meant to publish that info, but I keep searching for it, now that Dan's conclusions are about the same, only that he arrived through a different road to what seems to be a very interesting exploration on human perception of color.

My conclusions are not the same as Fuji’s, but they aren’t original, either. In 1839, Chevreul wrote in his §311, "It is almost always so that accurateyet exaggerated coloring is found more pleasing than absolute fidelity to the scene.

The test results are both predictable and meaningless in scenic shots and worse than useless in shots of people. We react to subtleties in nature. Niagara Falls is basically gray but it has an unusual green tinge. The terra cotta roofing in the Cinque Terre is a very dull reddish orange, but it’s an unusual color nevertheless. The Niagara par version has the water greener than it is in real life and I predict that the Cinque Terre par will have redder roofs, too. And why not? If you recall something as “green” or “red” and then are confronted with brilliant Pantone strips you naturally saturate the original colors in your mind. Same way if the photo is going to be exhibited online, or even in a book with other, brighter photos. Our memory has to change to cope with the increased competition. In the Chevreul book I show another shot of Niagara Falls, where the original capture is pretty close to the natural color, but the corrected version has a brighter green. And then I show two 19th-century paintings of the falls, both of which have the same brighter green.

Certainly I add saturation to the majority of images but not in the blunderbuss way suggested by Fuji. In Cinque Terre I want some added pop but not to overwhelm the viewer with color everywhere. In Niagara I do want added saturation, but not in the woman’s face; and in Carnival and Veiled Bride the last thing we need is for the film to add saturation.

The reaction of Apple and presumably other smartphone camera designers is more nuanced. They do present more saturated greens, but not reds. And they favor warm, sunny presentations that can turn into gross yellow casts if PPW is applied to them carelessly. But these decisions don’t pre-empt quality retouching the way Fuji’s saturate-everything approach did.

Dan Margulis