Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wetter is Better

I am often asked why so many of my images have such vibrant and saturated colours – and I am happy to explain how I do it.  The secret to obtaining rich vibrant colours is so very simple - - I call it “The Wetter the Better”

Lighting is very important of course, and I will address in a moment, but first I want to illustrate how waiting for the right conditions can make the difference between a ho-hum capture and a great capture.

In the image below, notice that the bark chips and leaves in the Dry area are nice, but without a lot of character or dimension. Compare that with the wet area. Notice how there is so much more depth and punch to the scene, especially in the damp leaves. They have much more vibrancy to them.

In this second example, notice that the dry areas outlined in red are flat and almost neutral in colour. Compare that to the sections of wet slate where there is wonderful depth and rich texture not found in the dry areas. Also notice that the pasty beige colour of the paving stone is so much more interesting when it is damp.

Now let’s talk about light for a minute. When trying to capture detail and texture, bright sun or artificial flash is not your friend. Going back to the first image of bark chips and leaves, let’s see the difference between using natural light and a flash.

The one on the left was taken with natural light on a dull overcast morning which requires a longer exposure (the shutter stays open longer). The one on the right was taken with an on-camera flash. I think the results speak for themselves. I much prefer natural low light situations that force you to use longer exposures. Even though these were very quick hand-held captures, in most of my work I use a tripod to eliminate camera (actually photographer) shake for a sharp and dimensional image.

By the way, other than cropping of the last image, these images are right out of the camera with no adjustment what-so-ever.

So, to sum up, watch the weather and pick your times for the best captures. I find early morning light is the best, plus there is a much greater chance of finding that dampness you want that really makes images pop! Save the bright sunny days for tanning and golfingJ