In which I once again ignore the conventional photographic wisdom holding that shade is your friend and sunlight your enemy.

Green and red autumn leaves, sunlit
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Yellow autumn leaves, sunlit
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Yellow autumn leaves, sunlit

This time of year drags anyone with a camera irresistibly down Cliché Avenue. Oh well.

Lightroom weenies: Those two yellow shots are the first time I’ve ever found myself pulling the Clarity control in a negative direction. I don’t have words to describe the visual effect produced by a value of -33 aside from “more like what I remember seeing”. And hey, that little Ricoh was having a good day, wasn’t it?


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From: Anthony B. Coates (Nov 01 2008, at 03:07)

I have the same feeling as you, there is something exciting and challenging about taking photos with the light coming towards the camera. It could be sunlight through leaves, it could be the sun reflecting off a river, I think it's a great challenge to take a scene with such great contrasts in intensity and to try and translate that into something you can at least partially experience via a photo.

It was a key reason that I bought a Fuji digital SLR, to get the maximum possible dynamic range and have some chance of capturing those contrasts.

Cheers, Tony.


From: Brandt Kurowski (Nov 02 2008, at 10:17)

I too found myself pulling "Clarity" in a negative direction recently, and it was also with foliage shots. To my eye it gives things a subtle glow, which helps to restore the warm appearance that brightly colored leaves have when viewed with the naked eye, but that seems to be lost when captured by a camera.


From: alex waterhouse-hayward (Nov 03 2008, at 21:57)

I don't think there is anything wrong with either ignoring or following the "rule" of shooting into the sun or of using bright sunny days for photographs of foliage and gardens.

The problem as I see it is that we are so bombarded by extra bright and colourful monitor screens, we are bombarded with the intense colour saturation of HDTV that we are losing sight to the existence of colours that we once called pastel. We are losing sight of the infinite shades of green of a Japanese garden in a cloudy or rainy day. We are losing sight to the gray tones and shadow detail of b+w photographs printed by masters. We tend to ignore the possibility of achieving more shadow detail by using light jet prints as a medium for digital photographic files.

In short we are losing sight of subtlety. But then if Hollywood films can be used as an example, subtlety is hidden somewhere in the shadow detail we have abandoned for bright killer colours. After a while I turn off. It's that or to become colour blind.

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward


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