Monday, December 7, 2009

Part 3 - Capturing Vibrant Colors

...continued from Capturing Vibrant Colors - Part 2...

The "Golden hours" are the moments right after sunrise and before sunset, when warm sunlight paints the landscape in rich magenta or gold tones. When the sun is low in the sky, soft, filtered sunlight makes it easier to get your exposure right in-camera - so capturing vibrant color is easier as well. Jay captured the golden light in this image of a young alligator just as the sun dipped below the horizon.
Dynamic weather conditions can serve to further enhance brilliant light during the golden hour. Stunning color from storm clouds may also provide reflections in water and on the ground. The warm light in the photo below comes from passing storm clouds - notice the fantastic light on the distant mountains.
After you have captured a photo, you'll need to process your photo. Be careful to choose the best possible white balance so that your colors are accurately portrayed and looking their best. Take a look at the two images below. Varina's shot from Yellowstone looks odd when it is processed using default white balance settings. The image has an unnatural blueish cast both on the ground and in the sky.
When the same photograph is processed using a "daylight" white balance (5500 K), the blue cast disappears. The colors in the photo look clean and natural, and the photograph seems much more inviting.
Tips for Capturing Vibrant Colors
  • Shoot during the "Golden Hours"
  • Look for dynamic weather conditions
  • Choose the appropriate white balance when processing (or in-camera if you are not yet using processing software)

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