Opportunity didn’t stay to catch her breath at the summit of Cape Tribulation for long. She’s already driven a little further onwards, heading south towards Marathon Valley. But before she set off, like any good hiker would, she took some pictures of the view from the top, and I’ve been spending some time assembling them into a proper, colourised portrait of the landscape she saw, as my own tribute to Opportunity and all the people behind her.
Now, it’s important to note here that many people “do” colourisations, it’s nothing new. Some people do it by simply tinting the MER black and white images of Mars what they consider to be a “martian” shade, by running them through Photoshop or some other image processing software until they have a red/brown/tan tinge to them. some of these “colourisations” are ok, but others, some very high profile, are, to be perfectly frank, ******* hideous, they’re absolute monstrosities, and the martian landscapes they show are ghastly bile- and diarrhoea-hued abominations which really should not be used by the websites and publications they are used by, especially when so many good, more realistic colour views are available. Other people, like me, do a bit more work. We take the black and white MER raw images, shot through different coloured filters, and then recombine them using image processing software to make a single, colour image. We all have our different ways, our own techniques and quirks, and use different software, but we’re all after the same thing – a colour image of Mars. What kind of image we’re after is much more subjective. Some people go for ultra realistic views, and work incredibly hard to make sure every channel is balanced and every curve is just right to make the landscape they show as realistic as possible, the view you would have if you were there, on Mars, looking at the landscape through your visor.
But that’s not what I’m after. What I try to create with my images is a vision of Mars, something that puts across – hopefully – the beauty of the planet and its landscapes. So my images are not photo-realistic, and I don’t claim them to be, but they, I hope, one person’s depiction of Mars which reflect the planet’s incredible raw beauty and nobility. My images are the images I see in my mind as I think about Mars, or write about it or look at it through my telescope. So the picture I’ve created of the view from the summit of Tribulation isn’t scientifically accurate, but it is emotionally and aesthetically accurate, at least for me.
Here, then, is what I see in my mind’s eye as I imagine standing there beside Opportunity, high on the summit of Cape Tribulation, looking south at the road ahead. Click on it to enlarge it, and I hope you like it. 🙂