For this assignment on colour, we are asked to submit a total of 16 photographs grouped into four, separated into four distinct categories.
We are asked to submit pictures that identify the following:
Complementary colours (colours that face each other across the colour wheel).
Similar colours (those close to each other, either warm or cold on the same side of the colour wheel).
Colours spaced about a third of the way around the colour wheel. This creates strong contract when placed next to each other.
A colour accent ( when once colour is dominant in the picture, as a spot or accent).
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I knew I was faced with a difficult task in order to get images that I would be happy with for submission. The main reason is that I live in Dubai, and mid summer with an outside temperature of at least 40 degrees centigrade makes all colours washed out, making this and the heat a heavy task to complete.
I was blessed (or so I thought) when I had the chance to travel to the UK for two weeks. However soon after arriving I came down with a very nasty chest infection that virtually put a stop to most of my photographic adventures. I managed to get out of the house on couple of occasions and get hopefully some good images.
I had studied in depth the relationships of colour theory on many websites, as well as reverting to many books by Michael Freeman. Two of them where ‘The Photographers Eye’ and ‘Colour Photography A Field Guide’. Both very helpful in their own right.
In addition to the actual submissions, we are asked to submit a still-life image where we have the chance to set up the composition as required. This will give us the opportunity to make up our own colour relationships. We can also use filters for effect if needed. Each image needs to also include a sketch to back up the colour relationship.
During the taking and framing of each photograph, I have tried to keep the colour relationships as close as possible. These were mentioned in detail in exercise 26, but as a reminder for this submission these are:
- Red : Green 1:1
- Orange : Blue 1:2
- Yellow : Violet 1:3
The four colour groups for this assignment are:
- Colour harmony through complementary colours
- Colour harmony through similar colours
- Colour contrast through contrasting colours
- Colour accent using any of the above
(click on any image to enlarge)
Colour harmony through complementary colours (colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel)
The relationship for red and green is 1:1. I think this photograph shows this strong comparison in the correct ratios. The heavy bright colour of the green is complemented with the similar hue of the green leaves in the background.
The yellow of this butterfly blend well with the and violet of the flowers. The ration for yellow and violet is 1:3. This works well in this image, with the lighter yellow bringing the eye into the wings of the butterfly. Any lighter in the petals and the yellow would be lost, and any darker the petals would look washed out. The butterfly also sits well on the top left rule of thirds.
This hotel was in bright sunshine as I walked past. I noticed the high contrast of the blue sky set against the orange of the hotel. Due to the clear day with little haze in the atmosphere, the colours seem to pop. Ratios for blue and orange are 1:2 in favour of orange.
This was I guess a pure chance shot. I was walking along a street in York, U.K. and took this picture because the guy made me laugh. The dog in the basket caught my also. Then looking back at my photos in Lightroom I noticed the mixture of violet and yellow. Also purely to chance I had got the ratios correct with a 1:3 mix(or maybe 1:4). All I did was darken the background slightly to bring out the colours.
Similar colours (colours same side of the colour wheel)
This was one of the pictures taken at this year’s Edinburgh festival, also know as The Fringe Festival. While walking among the crowds I noticed the strong warm colours caused by the hot flames and the warm tones of the skin. It was a fairly bright day, and if the clouds had have come over the skin tones would not have come out as well in the picture. The added affect of the warm colours is seen in the yellow air band. This complements all three colours in the warm side of the colour wheel.
I got a photo of this guy playing the guitar, again at the Edinburgh festival. I noticed the colours of the guitar, and two bags which fall into the cold side. I would have liked the bag on the right to be a little more in the purple region, but I wasn’t going to adjust it in post as this is how the picture looked to the eye. I like the way the cold grey of the wall and also his suit and seat cover adds to the cold hues. I would have liked the bag on the right to be slightly cooler, but I wasn’t about to change this in post.
During a walk in some castle gardens in Shropshire, I came across this (sunflower I think) sat upright against a wall. I was struck by the vibrant colours of the petals and amazing change of hues, going from light to dark and back to light again at the edges. The brown central stamen or pistil adds to the warm colours.
The cold colours and hues of this house match well. As I walked up the street it stood out from all the other houses in the area. This was the only one with these hues on the wall, even though it’s in need of some repair and attention. It was actually also a wet dull day, so this added to the overall cold feeling of the image.
Contrasting colours (colours close to each other, but not next to, on the colour wheel)
This shot was taken purposely to blur the background, in order to emphasise only the colours of the flowers. I had also taken a few shots with all areas slightly out of focus, but I found this image to come out the best. Both the blues and light reds work well against each other.
For this image, the first thing that caught my eye was the strong yellow. After looking around I cropped the frame in the camera to just show the two boats, making the red and yellow colours compete in the frame. Other boats were in the water to the right, but these were omitted in the composition.
This is a still life composed of some flowers I had recently bought for my wife. I broke up the remaining flowers after a while to make this contrasting image of the green and violet. The violet background was part of the wrapping which came with the bouquet. I placed the arrangement close to natural window light, making the green stand out from the darker hue of the background.
This is a fountain and water feature inside the Burj Al Arab hotel, situated on either side of the escalator going up to the first floor. At times the lights under the water will change colour and dry ice will be released. I had to make a few trips up and down the escalator on order for me to get the right colour combination.
Colour accent using any of the above (images with any one small dominant colour)
This image shouted out to me as soon as I saw the mans face. At The Fringe festival in Edinburgh I noticed the bright red of the lips, and with the pale make-up the red is made to stand out even more. A very strong colour accent is also helped by a very plain background.
These people singing in the street are all wearing similar clothing, apart from the gentleman in the background. The fact that he is out of focus helps bring out the attention to the separate colour in the yellow shirt. This strong single colour also helps the eye follow the image all the way to the end, rather than stay with the foreground which is in focus.
This image of the Goldfish took a while to capture. Every time I tried to get the fish just out the water, it disappeared. I finally managed to get it high enough out of the water to show its deep red, showing a single colour accent against the green of the water lilies and water.
While walking around early one morning in the desert, while I was looking to see if I could gain anything from a landscape, I came across an old hut were some workmen had been. Behind me in the picture is the old hut, but ahead I managed to compose this image of a hard hat which was left in the sand. The hat wasn’t placed (hence no foot prints) so I set up my viewpoint to get the Burj Khailfa in the background, while showing the strong accent of the yellow hat.
During a polo meeting, I had taken a series of images to get some colour. Then I started to slow the shutter speed and pan in order to try and emphasise only the colours. I wasn’t sure what I would get, but once back at the computer I was pleased to see how this image has brought out the accent of the reds, due mainly to the slow shutter speed creating blur. Once again, due to the fairly dark green background, the reds on the shin guards are helped to stand out.
The exercises and this assignment has been a lot more difficult than I first thought. As many of us think that colour is simply colour, only when you start to really do your research do you find that this could be a yearlong assignment if so required.
So much information and understanding is required on the subject of colour, that to simply shoot landscapes, still life, sport or any other subject without the required knowledge would really be a hit and miss affair in terms of the end result. Only with a clear understanding of the colour wheel, the theory of colour, primary, secondary, tertiary colours and more can a photographer hope to achieve the perfect colour image.
Through study of both the course materials and endless websites, have I found a new insight and understanding into the subject of colour. An understanding I will put into use in the future.
Comparison with assessment criteria.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills.
A lot of study had to go into this assignment. I was not aware at the time of commencing the exorcises in part 3, how little I really knew from a technical point of view on colour.
After constant study and application however, the knowledge was put into good use to gain the required criteria of each exercise and finally the assignment. I found myself starting to look at colour in a completely different way. My visual skill increased dramatically with every subject I came across. It’s a skill I’m sure will help tremendously in the future.
Quality of outcome.
Overall I am happy with the quality of my final images. They were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to obtain all of the requirements due to my location in Dubai. The hot weather and complete lack of colour in the summer can be soul destroying. It was only due to my visit to the UK that I managed to gain my final collection of images.
I would have liked to visit one or two more countries where colour is abundant, such as India, but this will have to be saved for another assignment.
Demonstration of creativity.
For all the images, I have tried to submit a collection which demonstrates and meets the criteria for the assignment, but also one in which the viewer enjoys each image in its own right. I have attempted to create images with varied subject matter. It’s easy to look over the internet and gain ideas and copy, but then you are not building your own reputation and soul as a photographer. I want to take pictures that would eventually have my own signature to them. Yes we all search for ideas, but I will go out of my way not to copy a composition if I see one elsewhere.
Each image comes with its own explanation, and in most parts where it was taken and what I was thinking during the process. As always, from a total of 17 images some will no doubt be viewed more strongly than others in meeting the requirements. Each image also has a small thumbnail of a sketch which has been desaturated to show the main relative colour context.
Much research has been done on the subject of colour, in books and on the web, and it has been a real eye opener for me. It’s a topic I know I will only improve on with further research and of course getting out and using the camera where colour really thrives. I enjoyed the assignment and feel confident the knowledge I have gained will be put to good use.