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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Accessories For Max Color

Take full advantage of the vivid hues of autumn with our selection of gear for getting your best colors

Labels: GearBuyer's Guide

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Alien Skin Exposure 2

Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0
While not a shooting accessory, using software is a simple and effective way to enhance your fall colors. Don’t think of software options as being a magic fix for a bad photo. Instead use the software to take a good image up to greatness. It’s also important not to overdo it with the computer. It’s easy to get seduced by ratcheting up the vibrant colors you see on your monitor, but it’s easy to go too far and end up with something that’s garish. Look at your prints carefully and pull back in the computer when it’s too much.

Alien Skin Exposure 2 is a cool program that lets you simulate a particular film look in the computer. For fall color, Kodak Kodachrome and Fujichrome Velvia will be options to try out. The software is easy to use. Estimated Street Price: $29. (www.alienskin.com)

Color Mechanic Pro
Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 is one of the most popular programs for professional nature photographers. Using Nik’s U-Point technology, you can precisely control the levels of enhancement of particular colors in the image. The Standard Edition with 15 ready-made filters is $99, the Select Edition with 35 filters is $159, and the Complete Edition with 52 filters is $299 (all Estimated Street Prices). (www.niksoftware.com)

Color Mechanic Pro from Digital Light & Color is a powerful plug-in that allows for selective color correction in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Color Mechanic lets you control one or more colors in an image without altering any other colors in the shot. If you want to boost the yellows, for example, select a yellow portion of the image and make the adjustment. It’s precise and fast. Estimated Street Price: $59. (www.dl-c.com)

When Only Film Will Do
While digital cameras have taken over in photography, there still are a fair number of nature shooters who reach for a film camera to capture the best of the fall. One of the reasons is because of emulsions like Fujichrome Velvia, which, since its introduction many years ago, became a favorite among professionals for its deeply saturated colors.

With the passing of Kodak Kodachrome into the history books this year, Velvia stands alone as the choice transparency film for getting the most out of the autumn hues. Velvia was originally available in ISO 50, and in 2002, a new version in ISO 100 was announced to replace the original ISO
50 emulsion. After demands by the Velvia faithful to bring back the original ISO 50 version, a new ISO 50 Velvia was introduced in 2007.

While Velvia gives you beautiful colors, the film does require a little more care compared to typical color-negative emulsions. Velvia is a contrasty film that’s not very tolerant of misexposure. Use your meter carefully and bracket to ensure that you get the best results. Also, if you’re making very long exposures, color shifts can occur.

Some of the most famous and inspiring nature images were taken with Fujichrome Velvia. Today there are plenty of pros who shoot Velvia and then scan the images into the computer for fine-tuning. Starting with radiant colors and adding a little computer control can give some stunning results. (www.fujifilm.com)


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