Deep red roses - deep annoyance !

Discussion in 'Nature' started by bill_thorlin, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Have tried on a number of occasions to capture the true colour ( at least to my
    eyes ) of deep red roses.

    The options tried have been :-

    Treat them as a black subject and under-expose.

    Taken the photograph side on and full on ( i.e. from behind ) to the light
    source ( sun ).

    Tried various types of film - fast, slow, ultra colour, muted colour,
    portraiture specials.

    Tried in bright sun, on overcast days and with fill flash.

    The end result has been disappointing whichever, whatway I go. Apparently on
    television it is the colour you do NOT wear ( information provided by the
    Memsahib who is usually right ) so it is obviously difficult - so what am I
    missing ???

    ( Seems like the right forum - I hope. )
  2. Can we see some examples of what is going wrong?
  3. Sounds like perhaps a processing problem rather than a film/exposure problem. Perhaps the equipment/personnel at your current lab just aren't up to the task?

    If so, you might try slide film or digital, or try a pro lab. With the pro lab, first step would be to catch them on a slow day and see what works well for them.

    If the rose is small and background is brighter, you could be having problems with autoexposure on the print-making machine- ask the operator about that, if they go "huh?", try elsewhere. That is, your negative may be perfect, but the machine prints the overall shot as average, which would make the rose too dark.

    When exposing, meter however you want to but bracket a stop or two or three in either direction. You can pretty well eliminate metering from the mix that way.

    Another issue might be lens flare. If you have a dark subject surrounded by light background, that could keep you from getting the deep colors in the dark area that you want. Lens hood plus maybe a black card held behind the rose might help, or higher quality lens if that's an option.

    Just some ideas- good luck.
  4. " what am I missing ???"

    Leica glass and early morning light? Those gave the best results for me on Royal Gold print film.
  5. Try EPN, Bill. Most accurate color emulsion going. Use flash exposure, set aperture by GN arithmetic. And make sure that ambient is at least three underexposed.
  6. Bill, you may also want to try an enhancing filter. It increases the saturation of warm colors ie deep red. My example attached is a little more pink than red, but it still demonstrates the filter's effects pretty well. Hope that helps. Andrew B&H Link
  7. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Dual polarized light
  8. It is exceedingly difficult to duplicate the exact "color" of a natural substance with color film. The reflectance spectrum is usually complex, and may involve fluorescence, which is hard to reproduce using only 3 or 4 colors. That match will vary with the type of illumination used for comparison - again because of the complex spectra involved. What you often find is that if you work to render one subject as accurately as possible, something else will suffer (like the surrounding foliage).

    To start, you must calibrate you monitor. Secondly, you must measure and compensate for the color of the subject's illumination. Finally, you must compensate for the color accuracy of the film.

    The first, you can do with an hardware monitor calibration kit, using a colorimeter or emission spectrophotometer. The subject and film can be "calibrated" using a good color chart (e.g., Gretag-MacBeth Color Checker SG) in one of the images. There is software to analyze the appearance of that chart from a scan or image file, and "correct" the color to the daylight equivalent (e.g., InCamera by Pictocolor, or Eye One Photo).
  9. Sadly cannot show any examples of the recent lot as I binned them in high dudgeon - if I get a chance I will try and find some old examples.

    Probably did not make myself fully clear - the nearest I can get is that the result does not look like a rose but more like a bowl of very dark red tomato soup with a few waves in it.

    Will have a think about all the rest ( well nearly all ) and see what I can make out - if you hear a grinding noise you will know what it is :)

    Thanks for your help.
  10. Have you tried Astia and the glow of sunrise on one side of the flower (no sun yet touching the flower)? Expose at +2/3 on the bright side. Works for me every time...if there is no wind...
  11. Hey Bill, have you tried just metering off of a grey card?? (or the grass around the rose??) I have a nice shot of a red tulip that was metered straight off grass and thru a warming polarizer on fuji superia.

  12. Shoot good slide film (Fuji Provia or Astia) and bracket, and you will capture the correct
  13. Thanks for the recent postings. I am going to have to check it all out and draw up a batting order for what I will try.

    So much advice I feel a headache coming on :)

    Thanks again.
  14. Bill, if you have a question and want answers to it, post it on But if you want a good or the right answer, um, er, ah, you'd probably best solve the problem yourself.
  15. I don't specifically recall if I shot red roses, but Agfa Vista has a very realistic color pallet. I've done quite a bit of flower work with it. I kbow Agfa is out of business, but you can still get film as Studio 35 at Walgreens.

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