Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Exercise: Primary and secondary colours - Part 2

I spent quite some time collecting possible sets to demonstrate colours and have ended up mostly with the results which I shot in a local market.  I had wanted to avoid a collection of painted objects, preferring to use natural colours, though I just could not resist the stack of plastic crates used by fishermen to hold fish.  So to recap the brief, three images are required of each Primary and Secondary colour with the exposure varied by half a stop around the measured exposure.  These are then compared to the colours in the colour circle.

The primary colours


Red is an exceptionally strong primary colour and has been described as emotionally intense.  This is not surprising as it is also classified as one of the psychlogical primary hues.  It is stimulating and frequently associated with danger.  It is a hot, sexy colour.

Here, the central image which is the measured exposure, is the image which I believe is the closest match to the colour wheel.


Yellow is a "cheerful" colour and, as for red, it has warmth.  It is one of the psychological primary hues and can promote good feelings and is used to represent the sun.  I have chosen these melons to illustrate this colour and have found that the image which is overexposed by half stop is the nearest to the colour wheel match.
Yellow is visible at considerable distances which is why, for many years, yellow was chose as the recognition colour for training aircraft in many armed forces, including the RAF.


This is another of the psychological primaries and promotes calm and a sense of peace.  It is a cool colour, but nevertheless it is said that in surveys it is usually listed as the most popular colour.

Of these, the darker blue of the crates in underexposed image on the left comes closest to that in the colour wheel.

The complementary or secondary colours


Another of the psychological primaries, green is a "safe" colour.  It is used as the signal to "go" in traffic lights and many other applications.  Green is also a relaxing colour.  Many organisations and religions have green as their colour, Islam for example.  A well known organisation is Greenpeace, hence green is associated as being the colour for being environmentaly friendly.

There is a huge number of green in the natural world and I have chosen these bushes as likely to be closest match to the wheel.  I do not have a pure single colour in the image; it is a collection of different greens.  On the whole, the underexposed image on the left is closest to the colour in the wheel.


Violet is a difficult colour to reproduce.  It is a dark colour and again is part of the "cool" group of colours.

Of the three, I see the underexposed image on the right as being closest to the colour wheel.


Another of the "happy" colours, orange exudes warmth.  It seems to be one of the easiest colours to find.

Here the overexposed image on the left is the one which is closest to the colour wheel.

What have been the learning points from this exercise?  The sheer variety of colour is certainly one of those things which has surprised me, particularly with the difficulty I had in matching the main primary and secondary colours.  Another key point was the control over the depth of colour through exposure.I found that the warmer colours benefited from some overexposure in order to bring out their true colour.  I found that some colours, when underexposed, became muddy, with yellow having a particular tendency for this.

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