Wet The Wood

You can use water to get more vibrant color when shooting wood
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Saturated colors have more impact than those that are washed out. They possess a greater richness and tonality adding to the success of an image. This is one of the primary reasons photographers shoot during the sweet- light hours of sunrise and sunset. The warm, rich light adds dimensionality and has a luminosity that can’t be replicated in mid-day. Some photographers add a bit of Vibrance or Saturation to their photographs in Photoshop, Lightroom or other RAW converter. Some pop the colors through the use of a polarizer to eliminate glare and allow the richness of the colors to show through.

All of the above techniques or tools are common ways to increase color saturation in a photograph. But there’s an often overlooked one that I’d like to share with you. I love to photograph trees, I love macro work, and I love to impart saturation to both. Over the years, I’ve come up with a great way to marry all three. The following technique came about as my photography evolved. I’ve made many close-ups of bark patterns satisfying my love of tree and macro photography. I’ve learned that using a collapsible diffuser to soften the light allows me to shoot at just about any time of the day. Bright highlights are tamed and the overall softness of the image makes me thankful for the tool’s discovery. Still, something was missing. Even with the use of added saturation in postprocessing, the colors didn’t have the richness for which I longed.

One day while shooting on Mount Evans, a short-lived Colorado thunderstorm moved through and was followed by the sun. While walking through the beautiful bristlecone pine forest, I noticed all the wood had a saturated quality with warm and rich tones. I found the missing piece to my puzzle. So now, whenever I make photos of tree patterns, I carry a 16-ounce spray bottle of water to wet the area I intend to photograph. The key is to wait until the water just begins to dry before taking the photo. This way the glare of the freshly sprayed drops disappear, and I don’t get hot spots in the image. I also use a polarizer to help cut through glare.

Visit www.russburdenphotography.com

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