Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Instructor's Tip: Wet the Wood

Enjoy this week's "Instuctor's Tip" by award winning nature photographer Russ Burden:

"Wet the Wood"

Saturated colors have more impact than those that are washed out.
They possess a greater richness and tonality adding to the success of
an image. This is one of the primary reasons photographers prefer to
shoot during the sweet light hours of sunrise and sunset. The warm
rich light adds dimensionality and has a luminosity that can’t be
replicated in mid day.

I love to photograph trees, I love macro work, and I love to impart
saturation to both. Over the years I’ve come up with a great way to
marry all three. I’ve made many close ups of bark patterns satisfying
my love of tree and macro photography. I’ve learned that using a
collapsible diffuser to soften the light allows me to shoot at just
about any time of the day. Bright highlights are tamed and the
overall softness of the image makes me thankful for the tool’s
discovery. Still something was missing.

One day while shooting on Mount Evans, a short lived Colorado
thunderstorm moved through and was followed by the sun. While walking
through the beautiful bristlecone pine forest, I noticed all the wood
had a saturated quality with warm and rich tones. I found the missing
piece to my puzzle. So now, whenever I make photos of tree patterns,
I carry a 16 oz spray bottle of water to wet the area I intend to
photograph. The key is to wait until the water just begins to dry
before taking the photo. This way the glare of the freshly sprayed
drops disappear and I don’t get hot spots in the image.


The photo(s) in this post were taken by Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured this image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

To take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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