Photo Accidents Happen

Flowers 01-08-2013Wife Lila took over what had been a gardening blog from Son Matt. She does a really good job with her Canon point-‘n’-shoot camera and her cellphone camera, but today she came in to say she couldn’t quite get the photo she wanted of some poinsettias growing in the corner of our yard.

I handed her my Nikon D3100 camera with a Hoya polarizing filter on it and explained how to rotate the filter to kill the reflections on the leaves to make the colors more vivid. I also showed her where to adjust the exposure, explaining that most of my photos are usually underexposed anywhere from 1/3 stop to as much as 3 or 4 f/stops from what the camera wants to set automatically.

She came back saying that the pictures still weren’t right.

I forgot to change the color balance

She was correct about that. I usually leave the white balance set on AUTO, but I had been shooting under tungsten light and had moved it. That gave the photo a blue cast in sunlight.

On second glance, though I LIKED this shot. I played a little with the levels and contrast to produce a photo that isn’t the literal representation she wanted, but is still striking. It really didn’t take much tweaking. That’s pretty much how it looked coming out of the camera. Click on it to make it larger.

You’ll have to wait until she gets around to writing about her poinsettias to see the real thing.


10 Replies to “Photo Accidents Happen”

    1. “Art” in the sense of one of my profs who looked at a student’s work and said, “That’s got to be art, ’cause if it ain’t art, then it’s pornography, and pornography is against the law.”

      For the uninitiated, Bob and I worked together at The Athens Messenger (he was nominally my boss). He was the “artist” on the staff; I was the hard-core news guy. He had a bigger influence on me than I had on him.

  1. Very artful shot amazing what white balance altering will do: try that on a street scene. It will stunning.

    1. I’m a straight-forward documentary shooter, so that would be a stretch for me. I may manipulate the photo so it looks like I saw it with my eye and to overcome the technical limitations of the medium, but I leave the funky stuff to folks who dabble in art rather than reality.

      I didn’t fit in well in a Fine Arts program in college.

      Still, I might try it.

  2. That photo is a metaphor for my life. Some of my best experiences have been the result of unintended consequences from errors I have made. LOL!

  3. What wrong with that flower? All the stuff I plant looks like that, a nice Blue with Red…and you had to use filters to get that? Come to my garden blues and Red all the time!

  4. Do poinsettias get as huge in Florida as they do in California? I saw many in CA as tall as the soffits in the roof over-hangs. I never had poinsettias when I lived there, but my geraniums got as big as a truck bed and I would have to cut them back and haul the cuttings to the dump! Back here, they charge about $2.50 for a small cutting in a 4″ pot and had I known that, I would have brought them back to Missouri with us!

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