Wednesday Vignette – that elusive red

Photographing reds is difficult. Try as you might – more often than not, they appear washed out or stretched in one spectral direction or other. Getting it right is a game I have failed at more times than I care to admit.

The other day at one of my favorite local nurseries – Xera – I saw a potted arrangement involving the silvery sheen of an Astelia, and a cloud of the deep, velvety, brownish red of Chocolate Cosmos. It was lovely! I tried to capture it…

Dark red, for sure, but not THAT dark...

Dark red, for sure, but not THAT dark. Trying again…

Oy vey - not even close! Why does it do that?

Oy vey – not even close! Why does it DO that?

Better, but still far too red.

Better, but still far too bluish red.

Now it's at least on the right side of the spectrum. Thank heavens for digital photography, huh?

Now it’s at least on the right side of the spectrum. Thank heavens for digital photography, huh? Just  keep trying…

Chocolate Cosmos and bee

Added a bee for contrast, but not even that helped much. It’s still much too red.

Now we're getting closer. To my knowledge I'm not doing anything differently - yet this image is better.

Now we’re getting closer. To my knowledge I’m not doing anything differently – yet this image is somehow better.

I think I finally got it! Don't ask me how - I have absolutely no idea. Isn't that just the most luxurious red?

I think I finally got it – or at least close enough to make me happy! Don’t ask me how – I have absolutely no idea. Isn’t that just the most luxurious red? I just want to roll around  on its velvety goodness, just like that lucky bee.

After all these attempts (and many, many more which I will spare you from sitting through), I think I can finally say that I have a (1) (that’s ‘one’) photo of a Chocolate Cosmos that actually resembles the real thing. Damn, those things are tricky! There is probably some trick or technique I have yet to learn, let alone master, out there. Or maybe it is as simple as a decent filter? Light is a fickle mistress. I’m so grateful for digital photography which affords me this small triumph – even if it was a complete crapshoot! And that, my friends, is my Wednesday Vignette this week!




About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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32 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – that elusive red

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Vignette – Glistening Jewels | Railway Parade House and Garden

  2. mattb325 says:

    Just lovely – the final attempt is worth the effort…I can almost feel the velvet redness!
    Here is my effort – the MUCH easier to photograph blue :

  3. Mark and Gaz says:

    It looks so tactile too with their velvety leaves!

  4. rusty duck says:

    Reds are very tricky. I had the same trouble with a blue agapanthus recently, tried it in all lights and from all angles and still didn’t get it.
    Love chocolate cosmos, not hardy for me sadly. Such a scrumptious scent too!

    • annamadeit says:

      I hear you – blues are near impossible too. Totally a luck of the draw for me. Wish I could say Chocolate Cosmos is hardy here, but sadly it isn’t. 😦

  5. Alison says:

    I love the color of chocolate Cosmos, I really wish it was hardy here. You finally managed to capture that deep dark color! Well done. My own Wednesday Vignette is of a tiny flower that is pink and orange. You can find it here:

  6. rindymae says:

    I had one over winter and it’s just now starting to bloom. I’ll have to head out with my camera and see about attempting to get the color right. I think all of yours are pretty. 🙂

  7. I’m glad to read that even those of you with a fancy camera still have issues with red! My vignette is a scene from an HPSO open garden last month:

    • annamadeit says:

      Well, so far my dear camera is fancier than my brain. There is probably a setting on it somewhere, that accommodates for tricky colors, but I have yet to figure it out.

  8. Eve says:

    I’m glad you were able to capture the color. Now if you could only capture the smell…

  9. Kris P says:

    I have that problem with deep blues too. I love the photograph with the Astelia in the background. Here’s my contribution this week:

  10. Evan says:

    Reds and blues are difficult. Some cameras do better with one or the other, depending on the software in the camera. Filters can counter it. I’ve found black-tinted flowers can be very difficult, too. Chocolate cosmos are a double whammy. Glad you got a satisfactory shot! They’re all lovely.

    Here’s my contribution:

  11. rickii says:

    My last camera had an aversion to white but did pretty good with red. I keep trying to record the subtle changes in a group of photos like this, but always get so caught up in the moment that I fail to stick with it. Really good photographers must have detail-oriented minds. I was hoping, as I read through this post, that you would have come up with a magic formula by the end.
    My road trip post offers up plenty of vignettes…take your pick:

    • annamadeit says:

      White? Wow – that’s a new one… Some of those “improvements” were almost imperceptible, but isn’t it interesting how it all changed with no real conscious involvement from either me or camera – it just happened. I wish I could have come up with a real reason it turned out, but sadly not.

  12. Very good! Don’t we all have moments of utter despair with color? Sometimes my camera and I just
    don’t get along…and I’m ready to give up.
    love Chocolate cosmos; did not grow any annuals this year, only red is Deep Red
    Snapdragons, still blooming; similar shade of red.
    Thanks for a lovely post.

  13. Pingback: Wednesday Vignette | A Moveable Garden

  14. mmwm says:

    I like all of the flower pics but sure know what you mean about reds. Also yellows in sunlight. And white sometimes. And orange. Here’s my vignette:

  15. kate says:

    Reds are indeed difficult for cameras to capture well. One thing you might try, though, is working with the white balance. This can change the off-color tints back to a true-to-eye color. You can do this in-camera, or afterwards on the editing desktop.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Kate – I don’t even know what the “white balance” is! But now that you’ve brought it up, I will try to learn how to use it. Thanks so much for the tip! 🙂

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