Further camera tips

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Fri, 09 Jan 2009 08:31:36 PST
Jane McGary lamented the practice of using image editing software to jazz up 
flower colors.

One way to keep yourself honest is to use a 17% neutral gray card as 
background, or just for separate reference shots under the same conditions and 
at the time of taking your picture(s). The Rix-Phillips books (among them, the 
wonderful Bulb Book, aka Random House Book of Bulbs) use such as a background 
for the studio shots, and to the extent that the printed version of the gray 
card is tinted, you can get an idea of what kind of color imbalance the 
photograph has.

I believe—correct me if I'm wrong—that digital cameras have more faithful color 
rendition than film cameras. With film, it's almost impossible to get blue 
flowers to look like anythng other than a murky purple. Furthermore, film 
tended to reproduce all reds in a highly saturated fire engine red: a sort of 
one color fits all approach. Perhaps this exaggeration of reds is connected 
with the poor reproduction of blues.

Another technique that can be very helpful on occasion is to open the diaphragm 
of your lens to the maximum aperture. This beshallows the depth of field, 
throwing the background out of focus and emphasizing the subject. If you use 
this technique, be sure that the camera's autofocus system is focussing on the 
subject, however. Using a wide aperture also gives shorter exposure times and 
can help reduce movement due to wind.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island


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