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by Phil Ball

Q. When I take photos of spring-green trees, the results often look bland and don’t look like what I saw when I took the photo. What can I do?

A. The bright greens of springtime have always been a bit of a problem for color photographers. Other colors seem to shine through but often the greens look weak. There are several things you can do to increase your percentage of keepers. First, try to make the best picture you can when you take the photo. Watch for lighting that emphasizes the color; I find that the light of early morning works well with spring greens because it adds a nice warmth. The direction of the light matters so examine your subject from all sides; often things look better from another side.

I find that backlight, shooting towards the sun, works very well with spring greens. Just block the sun with a tree to avoid lens flares. Second, many cameras allow you to adjust how they handle color. Mine has ways to increase the contrast and brighten colors in general. Check your owner’s manual. Shoot freely, trying different settings and then compare the results on your computer’s big screen. Soon you’ll know what works best with your camera. Third, you may make further adjustments to your images on your computer. Most photo editors offer ways to increase contrast and may also allow you to adjust individual colors so that your final image more closely resembles what you saw when you took it.

Published: Courier 8/1/10 - Page 5C