If you’ve ever tried photographing a person standing in the cool-green leafy shade of a tree in summer, then you would have noticed that the picture has a definite greenish tinge from the light filtering through the canopy, or reflected off of the surrounding greenery. It’s ghastly. There’s no other way to describe it. It doesnt matter what complexion we’re dealing with here — fair or dark, the green tinge makes your subject look like a zombie that has contracted jaundice. Summer will soon be here, and with it, the lush greenery… and adventures in the great outdoors.

All right, so aren’t going to hike the Gold Mine trail at Great Falls or hike around Cunningham State Park where the high canopy cuts off ALL direct light. Perhaps we’re just shooting in our backyards. It’s usually so warm that friends and family tend to congregate in any spot that affords shelter from the fierce Maryland summer sun, which is usually a big old oak tree. If you’re like me and only carried a UV, 1A or polarizer on your lens, be prepared for the “ghastly green” and all the complaints from friends and relatives that you made them look terrible. I got so sick of this that on a couple of occasions I shot family gatherings in black & white – which led to another kind of complaint – that I am so retro. Big deal. Family is very hard to please.

Late last summer, I finally figured out the right kind of filter. Its was something that I’d never used before, and I wouldn’t even have thought of it. A Magenta filter. More specifically, a CC10M, CC20M or CC30M magenta filter. These filters hold back green, kind of like a FLD filter under fluorescent lights. The CC20M and CC30M filter can also be used for photography under mixed fluorescent lighting to cut the yellow green tinge, but their effect isn’t as pronounced as a dedicated FLD filter The CC10M or CC20M is ideal for woodland photography – complexions are restored to healthy looking colors and yellows are Yellow. Did I mention that yellows turn blue-green in the shade of green trees? What I don’t like — magenta filters tend to be expensive, so look for a decent used one.

I first got a used 72mm sized Vivitar CC30M filter, and I planned to use step down adapters for all my other lenses. Then some kind soul included a 62mm CC20M filter along with a camera outfit I bought, since they had no use for it anymore. I did the research, and apparently the FLD filter for fluorescent lighting is a fairly recent innovation. Old timey photographers back in the 70’s and early 80’s apparently used Magenta filters all the time. Anyway, I am looking forward to better woodland photography this Summer. I hike all through the year, and my pictures thus far are a wash. Maybe I’ll have better luck in 2007.

See what I mean? Ghastly green!

green tinge #1
green tinge #2
green tinge #3
green tinge #4 – the Tshirt didn’t help

Photographed with an Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens 1/250 second at f/11 on Fuji 200 film (#1 and #2) Kodak 200 film (#3 and #4)

text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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