Finally getting a chance to process some of my shots from the past month or so, now that I have returned to Saigon and my desktop computer is back in working order once again… thank goodness!
This photograph is from my visit to Lao Cai Province last month – a Flower H’mong lady at Pha Long market sheltering from the sun under a very colourful pink and orange umbrella. When the sun is bright and hot it is very common for the locals here to take shelter under umbrellas, as much as when it is raining. From a photographic point of view, apart from adding an extra splash of colour to the scene, it also usually helps to diffuse the harsh light and shadows and can also assist with eliminating distracting backgrounds. And so I find that I am often drawn to photographing these types of portraits.
The traditional dress of the Flower H’mong females is always exceptionally colourful, and this friendly lady was certainly no exception. As I have already mentioned I thought at the time the bright pink and orange umbrella coupled with her colourful dress enhanced the portrait. So why the black & white conversion? Well unfortunately as much as I love these ‘portrait under the umbrella’ shots, I have realised that often the colour of the umbrella causes a strong colour cast on the subject’s face, especially when the light is very harsh. In this case the umbrella has caused a strong pink and orange colour cast on the lovely lady’s face, which I just can’t seem to rectify to my liking.
And so for now I’ll leave her in black & white, and perhaps later on I will try again to process her succesfully in vibrant colour, like I envisaged at the time when I made the image.
EDIT – 19 Nov 2011: I have now uploaded a colour version as the main image for this post, although I am still battling the colour cast on her face I do think I prefer it overall. The B&W version still appears below for comparison purposes…
EDIT – 3 JUNE 2012: I got tired of looking at the horrible color cast on the lady’s face and still haven’t had any success with re-processing this shot, so I have changed the featured image for this post to the below. Yes, I realize that detractors may say its ‘just another smiley kid’ image and there is still a bit of a cast on his face, but I think I can put up with it with it more than in the photograph of the lady, for the moment anyway!