Every photographer has probably at least once had to face a situation when he takes a picture in nice sunny weather, the subjects are interesting, but the shots, as they are called, don’t catch on – no life in them. And the colors seemed to be brighter, more interesting. What’s the point?? What was missing? Probably every experienced photographer has his own secret for bringing pictures to life. I’ll tell you what I like to use myself.
If you’ve seen stained glass, you must realize that no matter how much you shine on it, you won’t see bright saturated colors when you look outdoors. But it’s worth going into a semi-dark building and looking at the same stained glass window from the inside… In the first case, the light was “returned”. It was attenuated by reflection, partially scattered, the glass glare, and some of the sunlight could escape to the side when reflected and not reach your eyes. But when the light goes through the glass, it makes it glow because we see the colored daylight sunlight coming in the direct direction, not in the opposite direction after reflection.
I like to take pictures in backlight which means direct and towards me , because it makes semi-transparent objects shine, and can create a nice outline halo around opaque objects and emphasize their shape.
In order for the roses to show at least in part their color in all their glory, I shot them in counter side sunlight. In the first case, I had to use telezoom 255 mm equivalent to help blur the background nicely, despite the decently closed aperture. In the second one, the full-frame zoom at portrait wide open 84mm provided a nice bokeh.
The backlighting brought this shot to life, making the leaves, grass, and fountain spouts glow, and created a beautiful halo around the people enjoying the rest.
The back-lit sunlight made not only the foliage glow, but also the lanterns, beautifully contoured the numerous balusters of stone fences and the hairstyles of the women.
Nikon’s proprietary RAW files allow for deep tone correction, but even JPG files allow for the necessary action after shooting with negative exposure correction, which I use to enhance the saturation of the sunset sky color, but more often to keep the information in the lightest hues. It’s much harder to reconstruct information in these shots than it is to lighten the shadows, which usually have much less interesting and useful information in them.
In order to get the most expressive shot, I had to introduce a negative exposure compensation and wait a while, because the small underwater lights constantly flicker and change their color.
The scene I was shooting was very high contrast. To avoid over highlighting of the fountain in the foreground it was necessary to introduce an even stronger negative exposure correction, but not too much, so that the middle and background areas would not go into deep shadow.
The important thing in this shot was not to overlit the front of the Bolshoi Theater, and the information in the foreground could easily be sacrificed. That’s why again I needed negative EV correction in two steps. With the “Keep Warm Shades” option turned on, the backlighting of the collonade remained warm, and the glare of cooler lighting on the cars in the foreground made “The Big One” look even warmer.
While shooting several takes of the deserted winding road, a biker suddenly drove into the frame. The red lantern and its glare on the walkway supported the star light on the tower very well and this shot was certainly the best of the series.
ISO 1600, f/4, 1/80 s, -2 EV , the introduced negative EV correction made the frame too dark, but didn’t allow the buildings to be overexposed. The AdobePhotoshop photo editor AdobeCameraRAW lightened the shadows without the slightest damage to the highlights, but more importantly, the sky became a beautiful deep blue again.
ISO 400, f/4, 1/80 s, -1.33 EV
ISO 400, f/4, 1/80 s, -1.33 EV
The same technique came in handy for taking pictures of the Kremlin at sunset. Negative EV correction made the colors of the pink clouds denser and more intense, and also avoided beaten out highlights on the highlights of the domes and especially the crosses. Adobe Camera RAW has accurately brightened the dark areas here as well, with almost no loss of saturation in the bright areas.