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Amazing red tulips: inversed scan technique

by Brian Haslam

Seven years ago, I saw some photos by Katinka Matson  and was impressed with the quality.

At least I thought they were photos, turns out they were scans.

I decided to try it myself with my own printer-scanner-copier HP PSC 1215.



 I laid some tulips on the scanner glass and covered it with a blacked out shoebox. This was the result…



I like a black background to make the colours sing out. Earlier this year I was looking at this image in Photoshop and hit a command by mistake, this was the result…



I made a clean white background. I wondered how I did it. Luckily the history button told me what I had just done: I simply inverted the image.
Next job was to adjust the colours. Under Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation I took the slider all the way from 0 to +/-180 to bring back the colours.

I was extremely satisfied with the result. The original colours were back but the black tones were reversed to white and the white highlights were reversed to black. It was really looking like a botanical illustration. The yellow and grey tones gave the image a golden touch. I was so pleased and amazed that I thought I could even try red by moving the slider a bit and it also worked very well.

The next step was to add another red tulip scan, Ad Rem, to either side of the photo. This was done by extending the crop, then “copy / paste”. The right hand side is a horizontal flip of the left. The butterflies were added as an afterthought via “copy / paste” again.


ad rem”


Red tulips”


The only advice I can give is perseverance, keep trying. Find something you like and work on it. Looking at photos taken by others is also rewarding.

A long time ago I went to art college in Bournemouth (which is a University now). Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design / Film and Photography (three year Diploma Course). Nick Knight  was in the year above me. I was awarded second place in the Plant Portraits section of The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition in 2010 with a magnolia photo also amongst my published 1x photos.




Turned out I was at college with the Director, Philip Smith, who was also in the year above me at Bournemouth. Other winners and 1x members are Mandy Disher , Jacky Parker , Magdalena Wasiczek , Sarah-Fiona Helme , Christl Deckx  and Lotte Gronkjaer .



Very inspiring! And very interesting! Great idea! Thanks for letting us know!
Thank you Brian for providing us some inspirational tutorial. I may pick your brain if I have any problems. Regards, Usha
Thank you, Yvette.
Inspring and interesting technique, Brian! The result is amazing. Worth to try it ;-) Cheers, Yvette