Sunday, October 21, 2007

Photos of Fall Color

WE FINALLY HAVE some Fall color here in Saint Louis, after prolonged Summer weather finally gave way to cooler temperatures.

These photos were taken at Faust County Park, in Chesterfield, Missouri.

This is one of a number of historic buildings in the park, which includes Thornhill, the home of Missouri's second governor. Also in the park is the Butterfly House.


  1. Beautiful, Marcus! Your photos are especially rich and deep in color. Do you have a new camera? Just wondering.

  2. It is the same digital camera I've had since October of last year. I am using new software, but there are some new techniques that I am using that help the color quite a bit.

    Also, since I had a hard drive failure, I was able to upgrade to a larger one, which allows me to take and keep more photos without worrying about filling up the computer. So maybe I'm showing better photos because I can choose the better among many. Cheap memory cards for the camera helps also.

    My current camera is relatively inexpensive, especially considering that I used to buy only top-of-the-line professional cameras back in the old days. I have an impressive pile of film cameras that are now almost worthless!

    When I first bought a good digital camera back in 2001, I was greatly disappointed in the poor quality of the photos, and basically hardly ever used the camera for several years. But what I forgot was that most of the work for the old film photography took place in the darkroom; likewise, most of the work in digital photography takes place in front of the computer.

    When I started taking photos again a while back, I used my old camera out of necessity, but did not like the quality. See some of my oldest photos on this blog for some really ugly examples. I had to learn the computer software in order to improve. It was not the camera, but the photographer who was bad! I had to relearn many of the old lessons from years ago, as well as learn new digital techniques.

    What is important is being precise, in order to predict what the photo will look like even before I press the shutter. Recently I've been studying color perception, especially the difference between how the camera captures an image of something versus how it appears in real life. Correcting for these differences accurately requires some work and discipline, but I think the results are worth it.

  3. Thanks for your answer. I'm trying out the different settings with my digital camera also and what you said about being patient is quite right. I hardly use the flash so it takes a bit of setting up to capture images. Those taken with flash almost never turn out well, though I'm experimenting and finding out how to compensate. And photo software really, really does help. Thank goodness!

  4. Dear Argent,

    I almost never use the flash on the camera unless I'm just taking casual snapshots of friends and family. Professionals do use flashes, but only if they are separated from the camera by some distance, and also when the flash has some kind of light diffuser - this gets rid of harsh shadows. The best setup is to use two or three flashes at various angles to the subject, with the flashes bouncing off of wide silver or white umbrellas. This obviously works best in a studio.

    I nearly always use a heavy tripod for interior shots, and compensate for the lack of light with long exposure times. Now, flashes give good white color, while normal ambient lighting is colored, which has to be corrected one way or another.

    For the photo of the leaves and flowers, color was the most important consideration, so I made sure that I did not overexpose the leaves, which would have happened if I used the automatic exposure settings on the camera. Overexposure turns colored objects into pale or white objects, eliminating the color. But you have to be careful not to overexpose any of the three color channels on the camera: red, green, or blue. Cameras usually only tell you if all three are overexposed, so you have to compensate even more to avoid problems. when I processed the photos on the computer, I made sure that all of the detail and good exposure was on the leaves and did not care about anything else, which is why the backgrounds often are black.