Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Making Summer Color
In a season dominated by green, you can help the natural landscape with your camera, filters and the delicate use of Photoshop tools
Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you make hundreds of color judgments daily, but they’re strictly relative to you and your perception. I have a red-green color deficiency in my vision. I’m not alone; approximately 10 percent of the male population has this minor color deficiency. If you’re curious about your own color perception, there are plenty of websites on the topic. As one example, visit www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/Ishihara.html and test your color vision there (I can see the 25 and 56 clearly; the rest are a bunch of dots). The thing is, everything looks fine to me. I can’t tell that my perception of red is different from anyone else’s. Everyone has color biases and perception differences. Color is relative to the observer.
You’re probably familiar with the color wheel and how opposite colors on the wheel complement each other. For example, red and cyan, green and magenta or blue and yellow visually intensify one another if placed in close proximity. It’s not always possible to get those colors next to one another in the outdoors, but being aware of this effect will help you recognize and compose images to best take advantage of complementary colors.
Filters used to be the most common way to add or control color in photography. I carried around more than 40 different filters in the attempt to control exposure and color. I used cooling filters (e.g., 80A) to produce a duskish blue cast, several types of warming filters (e.g., 85 orange) or sepia filters to replicate the look of old or aged prints. I used color-enhancing filters, combined with high-contrast films like Fujichrome Velvia to intensify colors, and numerous grads of varying intensity and color to help balance contrast and exposure.
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