Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seeing Red

On one of the photography forums I belong to, there was a challenge of taking photos of the colour red.  It didn't matter what the subject was - flowers, cars, books - you capture the image whatever was red.

I've heard it before that red and yellow (and I'm finding now darker purples) are difficult to photograph.  That's the issue I have here.  The photos I've posted here haven't been edited at all, but I did try.  All of these flowers are dahlias, from my mom's garden, and a two of them have a second colour in them.

In the first image, aside from getting a good shade/hue of red, the top of the flower seems blurry.  I don't know if it's because I wasn't focused on the area, or not, but it seems to all blend together.  This is also something I don't know how to fix.  I wonder if the problem could be fixed by adjusting the angle of the camera...

The next photo doesn't seem too bad, though I realize it's not entirely in focus.  I think what happened was that I got a little too close to the flower.  The camera did indicate it was in focus, but I wasn't using a tripod, so that could also contribute to the image not being totally in focus.

The third image looks too bright.  I played around with it in Photoshop Elements but still couldn't get the red to look the way it does in real life.  I know the photo's not the best composition either, but I was just mainly focusing on the red and trying to capture that and see how it would turn out.  I believe the type of dahlia in this photo is a semi-cactus variety, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

The last image is of another semi-cactus, or even a cactus dahlia (again, I'm not sure of the variety.  I'll have to ask my mom).  As you can see, there is yellow at the center that gradually turns to red.  I took this photo mainly for the red, but also because it has yellow in it, and as I've said above, yellow is another colour that is difficult to photograph.  On the actual flower, the red wasn't too bright or dark, but I wanted to see how it would turn out.  I think the image would have potential if I had maybe taken the photo horizontally instead of vertically so that I capture the entire image rather than having some of the petals cut out of the picture.
So, overall, today's photoshoot was just experimental and I didn't pay too much attention to compostion this time.  I did take some photos of some of the other dahlias that weren't red, but those will be used another time. 

I have so much to learn in photography; I want to become a fantastic photographer and need lots of practice.  One thing I learned from this shoot is that even when you are experimenting with trying to capture different colours (or colours difficult to photograph), taking pictures of only certain items, things that start with a particular letter - whatever experiment or assignment you are working on, you should still aim to take a good photograph.  You should still try to capture the best image you can, because you never know when you'll get the photograph!

Obviously I have a long way to go before I can be deemed an excellent photographer, but I am enjoying the process - even if I don't get very good shots.  Every time I take a photograph, it's a learning experience and a chance to practice (or try to remember) what I've learned already.

If you know how to take great shots (or fix them in PSE) of the colours red and yellow, or can direct me to an article, please leave me a comment.

My question for you:  What do you have the most difficulty photographing?