I think it’s fair to say that colour is a very important part of most photographs, and that includes my own. It is quite possibly a photographer’s best friend and our worst enemy. We can use it to make our pictures stand out. However, although colour is usually what first catches a viewer’s eye, making them want to stop and take a longer look at our masterpieces, it can also work against us.
Even as I was taking the above photograph I knew that it was going to give me some problems. I didn’t like the colour change across the bottom of the frame. So why didn’t I take it differently? The simple answer is – I couldn’t. I was using a fixed focal length telephoto lens, as it allowed me to isolate the curving branch that I found so fascinating, keeping out a lot of the usual distractions you find in the middle of a wood. But even then, I only had a workable view from one particular point, which meant balancing precariously on a fallen tree. It wasn’t a case of choosing the best option available, there was no other option. It was either this or forget it and move on.
So what can I do? Well, when it comes to unwanted colour clashes I know I don’t need to be afraid, because I have a cunning plan. The first thing I do is convert the image to black and white and play around with it. Usually I come up with something that I really like, but not this time.
I find the white patch at the base of my photograph too distracting for my comfort.
This leads me to cunning plan phase two – cropping. Some people seem to think that this is cheating. I don’t. It’s just another way of making a selection from all that we see around us. As the vast majority of photographs are seen on a low-resolution computer screen or portable device, or on the pages of a book or magazine, there is usually plenty of scope for cropping without compromising quality.
All this photograph needed to make me happy was a slight crop. Now free from distractions, the gracefully curving branch takes its rightful positon as the undisputed feature of interest in this picture.
If this still doesn’t do it for you then there is still one more readily available option – delete.