Friday, 29 March 2013

Assignment 3 - Colour

Finally I have come to the end of the part in TAOP which has been dedicated to colour.  This has taken me an extraordinarily long time for a number of reasons, which I will not dwell on here.  During that time I have collected many images which were intended to be used in this, and many were rejected.  Because I took so long over this, I lost my focus and it has only been in the last month that this has returned.  Certainly I found that the way I look at subjects, or rather potential subjects, has changed somewhat and has driven me to look at images taken by others to see what it is that makes that image exceptional.  I have written about some in earlier passages of this blog, and some I have yet to write about.  I was particularly taken by the use of a colour accent by Thomas Zanon-Larcher, in most cases this was red which countered the typically black mood of the many of the images in the series.  The use of colour was incredibly effective in Karl Baden's street photography and is something which I must explore further and try out some of his ideas.

We started with the colour wheel such as the one below and examined the relationship between the colours:

Complementary Colours:

These being colours which are opposite each other and achieve harmony, where compositionally, when they are pure, they achieve maximum effect.

I learnt that Goethe had assigned values to the six colours in the wheel above which resulted in the following ratios:
Red : Green             1:1
Orange : Blue           1:2
Yellow : Violet         1:3

I saw in practice that this was very much the case in the real world which I observed when searching for suitable images.

Similar Colours:

These are colours which are adjacent to each other and it is easy to see how they work effectively.  In particular where the Violet, Blue and Green part of the wheel is classified as 'cool' and yellow, orange and red are 'warm'.  Examples of the use of these colours is seen in architecture and in the way office and other working space is painted.

Colour Contrast:

A strong contrast is achieved by colours which are a third of the way across the wheel from each other.  So Red and Yellow, Orange and Violet, Yellow and Blue (one of my favourite combinations), Green and Violet and Blue and Red.  These can be very effective in providing eye-catching design and this is where their appeal lies.

Colour Accent:

Very much used in design, colour accent is the placement of a small patch of colour in an area of largely different colour.

In Assignment 3 I am seeking to demonstrate my understanding of the relationships in the 4 classes defined above, taking 4 images for each.

Colour harmony through complementary colours

ISO 200, 300mm, f/9.5, 1/180
Using Photoshop's Filters I created a more abstract version of the above image in order to illustrate the relationships.
I introduced dynamics into this image by giving a tilt at the time of taking it; this gives the movement shown by the red arrow. Otherwise the balance is through the two blocks of colour one on top of the other.  Looking at the colours, I did not get the relationship quite right as the orange is still somewhat dominant.

ISO 2500, 105mm, f/4.5, 1/10sec
I started this image more as a colour accent, but looked at cropping it severely in order to give more of a 1:1 relationships between the red and green.
Looking at the abstract version, the red and green are working well together, though the bright red is still dominant.  Movement is diagonally along the line of the 'lights'.  Balance is achieved through the two main blocks of colour as shown above.  The main blocks are dictated by the movement.

ISO 200, 88mm, f/22, 1/60 sec
Although the colours of the fishing nets and ropes are muted through hard use, the orange : blue relationship is evident.
The abstract makes the colours more vibrant and the ratio of 1:2 is very clear. There is movement along the line of the ropes and balance is achieved as all the elements are stacked one on top of the other.

ISO 200, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec
Although muted, the relationship between yellow and violet of 1:3 is clearly visible here, even more so in the abstract below:
The balance in this image is straightforward as the colours are in 3 blocks, the central being bviolet with yellow either side.  Though there are these 'static' blocks, there is small movement running along the line of the 'branches'.

Colour harmony through similar colours

ISO 400, 28mm, f/9.0, 1/50 sec
Bluebell woods in Spring are a classic combination of blues and greens, with the vibrant green of the fresh foliage of the trees making a great backdrop to the Bluebells.
Though not so evident in the abstract version, this is a 1:1 relationship between the two colours and these provide a soothing image. Movement is diagonally left to right leading to the sun-lit area in the background.  Balance is straightforward, with the mass of Bluebells stretching across the frame in a single block, woith three further blocks on top, formed by the trees and the sun-lit background.

ISO 200, 105mm, f/4.0, 1/2000 sec
I decided that the yellow californian poppy was just large enough not to be considered an accent in this image.
Yellow Poppy
The greens in this image are slightly muted, so the vibrant yellow is dominant, however, as the two colours are adjacent in the wheel the combination is harmonious.  Movement is along the lines of the flower stems, as sown by the red lines above.  The yellow poppy dictates its own movement as shown above.  Balance is through the blocks of green colour going across the frame, with two smaller blocks on top, one yellow and one green.

ISO 100, 100mm, f/8.0, 1/125 sec
I had fun with this still life, illustrating the finer points of life....  The set up was lit with a single speedlight using a softbox modifier, pointing down to the right and 90deg to the camera, with light being bounced back using a gold reflector to the left of camera.  I wanted to use gold, to provide the 'warm' colour which I felt was required here.  This gold reflection is seen particularly in the reflection on the left hand side of the bottle, which brings it in into the composition.  I used a black velvet backdrop to kill unwanted stray light, as well as to bring the focus onto the glass of port and the cheese.
Port and cheese

The colours, as shown in the abstract are all adjacent, the red of the port, orange of the board and part of the cheese, with the rest being yellow.  Also, there is the orange of the reflection on the bottle.  All is working in harmony, with the proportions seeming to be appropriate.

ISO 100, 105mm, f/10, 1/125 sec
I could not resist this abstract of the blue bollard on the dockside, which is matched to the green, tending to aqua, of the sea.  The neutral stone provides an anchor for the colours.
In essence there is balance between the neutral stone and the sea.  The bollard overlays the two main blocks, possibly causing an imbalance.  Movement is given by the shape of the bollard, almost like an arrow-head, pointing towards the top of the frame.

Colour contrast through contrasting colours.

ISO 100, 105mm, f/4.0, 1/750sec
 One of my favourite flowers, the aptly named 'bird of paradise' provided the inspiration for the first of this set of images illustrating colour contrast.
Bird of Paradise
Here the saturated orange of the flower contrasts with the greens of the background which I had thrown out of focus in order to provide a blended green.  These provide the blocks which give balance.  Movement follows the lines of the flower elements, suggesting, almost, an upward explosion.

ISO 200, 400mm, f/14, 1/200sec
Aviation is a passion of mine, so I just had to include this shot of a de Havilland Chipmunk performing at its home base of Old Warden.  Taken in bright sunshine using a shutter speed just low enough to start blurring the propeller.
The bright yellow of the aircraft contrasts with the blue of the sky.  It is a popular choice of a pair of colours used as contrasts.  Movement is mainly defined along the line of the fuselage, right to left and down the wing to the bottom of the frame which anchors and gives a pivotal movement.  There pivotal movement is completed through the pilot's eyes as he looks forward and down into the turn being made by the Chipmunk.

There are two elements on this image, the yellow of the aircraft and the blue sky, with essentially 3 blocks giving the balance.

ISO 400, 24mm, f/16, 1/180 sec
The 84 foot high square beacon tower was erected by Trinity House in 1832 to distinguish the Gribben from Dodman Point and St Anthony's Head, and thus make navigation into Fowey and the harbours of St Austell Bay safer.  There was never a light  used on this tower, but is painted in broad red and white bands as a 'daymark'.
Navigation Tower
Red and blue are in contrast and not surprisingly red is used on the tower to aid visibility.  Much of the time, during the day, the backdrop to the tower would be the sky, when viewed from a boat at sea.

Balance here is achieved through the two blocks, one being the tower and the other being the sky and white cloud to the left.  The angle of the tower gives movement bottom left to top right.

ISO 200, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/50 sec
I spotted this abstract in a hotel foyer, with the early morning condensation on the glass blurring the outside world.  The green contrasts with the violet, particularly when seen in the abstract version below.
Potentially, this could also fall into the accent category, but I felt that as a substantial part of the image had the violet colour then this was no longer an accent.  The violet works with the bamboo silhouette to provide the balance across the frame.  Movement is expressed along the line of the stems, working diagonally from bottom left.

Colour accent using any combination

ISO 200, 135mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec
A London garden square provided the opportunity to capture this image, using complementary colours.
Garden Poppy
A red poppy always stands out, and here they a particularly evident against the backdrop of a variety of greens.  If anything, the red of the poppies is even more exagerated in the abstract version, but very clearly an accent.  The colour of the poppy is so vibrant that it balances the other main element which is the green tree fern on the left.  Movement is diagonally into the the garden through the arch created by the fronds of the fern.
ISO 1600, 105mm, f/9.0, 1/125
Early evening, hence the high ISO setting, when I made use of the humble traffic light to provide an accent colour, red against a predominantly blue background; a natural colour contrast.  The yellow of the traffic light itself is very de-saturated, becoming neutral in this image.
The abstract image exaggerates the red accent, also confirming the neutrality of the yellow.  There are two main elements to this image: the red light and the main part which is the blue sky and the neutral lights housing.  The size of this latter area creates a balance.  Movement is through the red light as shown above.

ISO 200, 105mm, f/16, 1/60 sec
Once again, I am using red as an accent, here the red flowers of the Pelargonium provide the splash of colour against a yellow / neutral wall, using colour contrasts.
The red of the pelargonium is very evident in the abstract version.  This is balanced by the somewhat larger but less vibrant brown of the window, though the grey stone beneath the pelargonium adds to the overall balance.  The background is yellow, though somewhat desaturated.  Movement is through the rythm of the decorative tiles moving to the left from the anchor point of the grey stone.

ISO 100, 100mm, f/8.0, 1/180 sec
A bit of fun here, with the yellow of the bath duck, collected somewhere on my travels, as an accent on the blue bath towel.  One of my standard set ups indoors, a single speedlight using a softbox modifier to the right and above the camera and shadows filled in using a white reflector.
Kool duck!
The abstract version does not really add much to the overall analysis of this image other than to exaggerate the yellow duck.  The large size of the blue area of the towel below the duck, balances the yellow accent of the duck.  Movement is provided by the sunglasses, diagonally top left to bottom right.

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