I’m looking for something in red…

9 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


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9 03 2011
burstmode

It is always such a pleasure for me to come to your blog and today, you’ve really nailed red; a tough color. I have to send an acquaintance a link to this post because she has been struggling with photographing ladybugs.

9 03 2011
cindydyer

Thank you, burstmode! You’re right—red is a hard color to photograph (right up there with realistically capturing blues and purples). Thanks for the referral to my blog for your lady-bug-photography-challenged friend.

You’ll be happy to learn that I am FINALLY going to get a crash course in Lightroom at the end of this month. I bought the first version, then upgraded…and still haven’t used it. I’ve read so much about it and just have to get on board with it. I’ve seen the wonderful things you’ve done with the program on your photographs and I also want to use it as an archiving tool.

10 03 2011
burstmode

Cindy, my ladybug-photographing-friend wonders how you took the photo. She writes:

“And that’s what I meant about the specular reflection. Was that taken with artificial lighting? I can’t figure out how it could have been. That photo, and some of the others, have rather ‘flat’ lighting to my totally non-expert eye. I also can’t figure if there’s a reflection of the photographer + camera on the ladybug’s back. On my photo I think there’s a reflection of the camera (small p&s) on a tripod.”

Any chance that you can reveal your secret of the ladybug shot? I understand what she means about flat light. I usually achieve it with overcast light but sometimes with flash.

As to Lightroom: I was frustrated with CS2. I used Corel Photopaint because it was easier. And there it was in the Corelsuite package: Rawshooter. I started using it and loved it. Adobe bought it and it became Lightroom. So, I have been a long time user.

10 03 2011
cindydyer

Hi burstmode!

I shot that ladybug in overcast light—under a tree canopy at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. If the light isn’t overcast, I will use a pop-out diffuser to flatten the light. I sometimes use my flash (not a ringlight necessarily) and a pop on diffuser—angled to just bounce a little bit of fill light to brighten the subject. You’re right about trying to shoot in overcast light—it makes for the best flower shots, hands down. I do play a lot with my Speedlights…and sometimes add the RayFlash to my Speedlight…and sometimes I bounce the flash off a soft silver reflector. And sometimes I’ll put a larger diffuser over my flash (like a Lumiquest product) to illuminate my subject.

The best advice I can give is to avoid shooting in direct sunlight (and that includes portraits!)—unless you’re shooting an overall shot of a garden with a blue sky and can’t avoid it. I get saturated color because I am shooting in early morning or late afternoon most of the time. When I can only shoot high noon, I’ll bring out my collapsible reflector and create my own overcast light! I wouldn’t go to a garden without that accessory.

What I love about digital is that immediate feedback—if bouncing a flash doesn’t work, I’ll know it immediately. If I use the ringlight and get odd shadows, I’ll see it immediately. I hope these tips help her in her photography! I’m happy to help anytime.

I didn’t know the Lightroom was an incarnation of Rawshooter. How did you learn to use it? DVD? Book? Online training? Or just practice, practice, practice?

10 03 2011
burstmode

Thanks so very much for the information. I imagine a lot of folks will find it interesting.

Rawshooter was not the easiest product to use. When Lightroom came along, it seemed to smooth out the rough edges of Rawshooter as well as providing a sensible interface and it was an easy transition. The rest was practice.

Learning curves are steep in a lot of software. Photoshop, for instance, assumes a certain graphic-design knowledge in order to make sense of its maze of menus and terms. Lightroom assumes only a minimal amount of photography knowledge and so it has an easy learning curve.

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