Some color contrasts are so vivid and eye-catching that they almost seem unreal. One of our neighbor’s peony bushes has cerise flowers with yellow stamens. The relationship of the colors and the opportunities for a variety of compositions provides another of the little pleasures in photography.
The stamens seem to be getting the courage to stand up and make a run for it from within the curly, clasping petals. In a way it reminds us of a description of the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia. The British writer, Beverley Nichols, is supposed to have said that it looks like something that came out of the sea and is up to no good. It does.
Extreme color contrasts are a challenge for digital capture, raw conversion software and image processing. Some colors are very difficult to interpret and display by even the most sophisticated software. When the file was opened in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), it was almost black and white – a deep muddy maroon and a pale cream. The white balance tool made it worse adding green to the yellow. So the fine tuning of color temperature and tint were needed. The natural color appeared when the color temperature was moved close to 5500° K and the tint slider moved to the middle.
The in-camera histogram did not have spikes at either end. In ACR there was a wide spike on the left – the dark side. The Exposure, Shadow and Black sliders were moved to the right to open up the dark mass of color to more closely represent the vibrant cerise. This lightened the yellow so when opened in Photoshop the yellow areas were selected and the midtones darkened slightly using a Curves adjustment layer. Another Curves layer for the entire image was added to brighten the cerise. It was then flattened, sized, sharpened, converted from ProPhoto to sRGB and to 8bits for saving as a jpg to be used here.
The image was made yesterday and is not yet imported into Lightroom for keywording. It will be interesting to see what the Develop module in Lightroom sees and does. Photographs are made from the data collected by the digital camera and interpreted by the software and the person doing the processing.