Continuing in the vein of talking about light and shadow and their control in the making of photographs I’m posting this shot of a pink anthurium. You would say it’s pink, wouldn’t you? Is that a trick question?
The truth is that while the flower is in fact pink, the range of tonal brightness values in this photograph of the flower is rather large. At page bottom I am including a second copy of the photo but with indications of the lightest and darkest places inside of the blue circles.
Previously I wrote that in digital photography the range of brightness values is from zero to 255, the darkest being zero, the brightest being 255. If we were to measure the brightness values of the brightest part of the flower they would be up closer to the 255 end of the scale and the darker part down nearer to the zero ed of the scale.
All this is a rather complicated way of saying that yes, while the flower is pink, it is really a wide range of darker to lighter pinks–it’s not just any one pink and herein lies an important concept for photographers.
Although in actuality the pinks within the flower are very nearly the same, in order to add depth, vitality and visual interest, by exercising control over the lighting I intentionally made some parts of the flower brighter than others and some parts of it darker. There are areas of highlights and areas of shadows. There are wide ranging brightness values from nearly white where the highlights appear to quite dark in the shadows. This was not a happy accident and it makes a world of difference. I just wish I had a poorly lit photo of the same set-up in order to show a side-by-side comparison but I wasn’t thinking about that when I made this image.