Deciphering Korean, one photo – four edits, part IV

Early April this year, we visited the cherry blossom festival in Jinhae, Korea. Tired from being in the crowds and from adoring thousands of trees, we decided to rest in a café before getting on the bus back to Busan. Coffee is very popular in Korea, and there are many coffee chains as well as many trendy little cafés with interiors that any hipster spot here in Berlin would be proud of. We chose one of those, and while Mr. Colors deciphered the menu, I took pictures.

I chose one of those pictures for the One Four Challenge, an event where everyone edits a picture of their choice in four different ways and publishes one of the results per week for the next four weeks. I am going to show you the original JPG from my camera in the last week.

Scripture1The picture was taken with my Olympus OMD E-M10 and a 20mm prime lens at aperture F1.8, shutter speed 1/160 and ISO200. I worked on the RAW file in darktable, a free RAW editing software for Linux users. In the first week, I selected a high-contrast black-and-white version that emphasized the beauty of the scripture.

Scripture2For the second week, I brought some – but not all – of the colours back in and added a vignette for a bit of an Instagram feel. The focus shifted from the letters to the hand and it became easier to see that the menu at this place was painted on wood. The image was still heavily desaturated and pale in comparison to the next one.

In the third week, I showed you how I would normally edit this picture with a less extreme crop and more natural look.

Scripture3_03In case you were wondering: neither of us speaks Korean. Luckily, Korean has a phonetic script. Letters are combined in squares to form syllables and syllables are combined to words. Koreans can even write foreign words in this way. Mr. Colors, being both studious and drawn to the task of deciphering foreign languages, learned it very fast. According to him, this menu promised Italian treats like cappuccino and caffé latte.

This week I am showing you the jpg rendered by my camera, not edited except for the watermark and without any cropping. The picture is more reddish and softer than my edits. Personally, I like this Olympus-style jpg-rendering. What do you think?

Original jpg rendered by the camera.

Original jpg rendered by the camera.

By the way, our efforts to decipher the menu were in vain: they had run out of milk. Instead of the cappuccino I longed for, we got something that was advertised as Korean tea.


A dark and thickish fluid with not-so subtle hints of nutmeg and cardamom, enriched with nuts and dried fruits. I wish I could say that I liked it.

This is also our, one day late, birthday post. Since June 24, 2014, we have made 102 posts on this blog, each of which has, on average, generated over 130 views (the first ones certainly did not ..). Many of our visitors were strangers, coming to us by search terms such as heidelberg beer bottle, ms. ha cantho, and ‘annapurna packing list’. Some came through WordPress and a couple of them even became our first on-line friends – the most precious gift this blog has given us.

4 thoughts on “Deciphering Korean, one photo – four edits, part IV

  1. Robyn G

    A belated happy birthday! 😀
    Have enjoyed you playing along in our challenge for June and have definitely enjoyed your image and editions.
    I too like the lovely warm jpeg as rendered by your camera.
    I really like seeing the hinges and the paint strokes/drips on the menu. A fabulous image, with beautiful detail and colour.
    I am sorry about the coffee?? 😀


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