Assignment 3 : Colour

Assignment 3: Colour

In this assignment, the requirement was to show my command of colour in photography and to be able to find and use different colours in deliberate relationships.

For this assignment, I had to take around 4 images per category. The categories were:

· Colour harmony through complimentary colours

· Colour harmony through similar colours

· Colour contrast through contrasting colours

· Colour accent using any of the above

The images should be a combination of naturally found colours and still life. I very clearly wanted to ensure that where possible I was getting natural images, and as this was undertaken in July/August, I was lucky that there were plenty of flowers and plants to focus on. I didn’t want to resort to taking images of signs to get the colours, so I tried to combine the natural images with still life and mixtures of colours within different environments.

Introduction

In order to understand the colour combinations required, I’ve included a diagram from a image search on Google (this was used in another OCA students blog with no direct link to its origin) to help see how the colours relate to each other.

clip_image002

Background

I was really looking forwards to undertaking this exercise, I felt that it would be a good challenge and while I was undertaking the exercises that precede this, I began to look into colour combinations around me, and I found that the combinations of the colours were harder to find than I first thought. Luckily it was summer when I was undertaking the capture of the images, so that there were natural examples of the colours. A problem I found when looking around my immediate area, was that the colours tended to be very much neutral, lots of browns, greens and creams, and even in the garden we only had a couple of coloured flowers. I did some reading around on the subject, with my references at the back of this document, and I found some information in the books by Michael Freeman to be very useful. I also found a television documentary Horizon, which had a focus on colours and whether other people see what I see. I found the whole programme very interesting as it covered what I see to be the other side of colours. It seems that we all experience colours differently, depend on factors such as age, sex or even mood, we see the colours that we want to see. Obviously this made me think again about how my images are going to be viewed, whether they could still be interpreted the way I want them to be, if the colours are different. However I can’t change how people see colours, I just have to ensure that whether my images are colour or black and white, that they are the strongest they can be.

All of the images were taken with a Canon 7d, detailed technical information is available as an appendix, and all processing was undertaken in Adobe Elements 9. The processing I undertook was to enhance the images to my own eye, so some minor tweaking of the blacks, contrast, fill light and saturation. This is in line with the usual level of processing I undertake and no radical altering of the colours was undertaken, I intended for it to just be a more vivid image.

Complimentary Colours

For this section, I had to take images that concentrated on primary and secondary colours where they are opposite each other in the colour wheel.

· Blue and orange zigzag bench

clip_image004 clip_image006

Balance Orange:Blue 1:1

I spotted this by chance, within the viewing enclosure for the cheetahs at Chester Zoo; they have a number of benches in front of large glass window. Taking a break while I was in there, I was attracted to the zigzag pattern and how the orange really stood out. As you can see from the colour wheel, blue and orange are opposite each other so are complimentary colours. While there is a hint of green on this, the way the sun was falling onto the bench makes it blend into the blue, as the blue seems to be a darker and colder colour in comparison to the very vivid and warm orange.

· Blue and orange plane

clip_image008 clip_image010

Balance is Blue: Orange 1:2 with a greater emphasis on the blue sky

Again another example of how blue and orange sit together, and I feel that this works with the colour a lot better than the blue and orange bench. In this image the blue is a lighter tone and provides a perfectly blank canvas for the orange of the wingwalkers plane, I feel that it’s quite well balanced with plenty of blue space around the main subject that the eye is drawn into. The way the plane is positioned towards the right hand of the frame gives a sense of its movement which is added to by the smoke trails behind.

· Purple and yellow kite

clip_image012 clip_image014

Balance is Yellow: Violet 1:3

This was a chance image as I found the combination of purple and yellow very hard to find and it was an unplanned purchase of a dragon wall hanging that provided this. I hadn’t realised it had the right colours until I’d unwrapped it and when the wing parts were laid out, I was drawn straight to the combination of violet and yellow. Unfortunately there is an addition of white separating the two colours, but I feel this is acceptable only due to the composition. I’ve used a macro lens and framed the image so that there are fronds of yellow streaming down into the violet, so as well as the colour combination; there is the use of leading lines drawing the eye from the yellow to the violet.

· Red and green watering can rose

clip_image016 clip_image018

Ratio is Red: Green 1:2

The last image in the set was one of the first images that I took for this assignment. I’d been drawn to the colouring of a new watering can in bright red and I felt that as a still life composition, it would work well with the green grass. I tried two different arrangements, and in the end decided to shortlist this one. The rejected image was of the full watering can lying on its side with the image taken from above, while it focused on the red, there wasn’t enough of the green showing to complement this. I then positioned just the watering rose on the grass and again took the image from above. It worked this time as I’d used a macro lens so was able to balance the quantities of each colour through the composition.

Similar Colours

For this section, I had to focus on a combination of a primary and a secondary colour which would be adjacent to it on the colour wheel

· Blue and green stained glass

clip_image020 clip_image022

Ratio is Blue: Green 1:3 as there is much more blue than green

I really love the colours on this, I’d been lucky enough to have been in the old thermal hot baths at Buxton, which has been converted into the Cavendish shopping arcade, and as part of this a new stained glass roof was developed with the view to bath the area in colour. The blue glass on a sunny day was very vivid and eye-catching, and the dark green of a sycamore shaped glass is also a strong tone which helps to identify that both are similar colours that sit side by side on the colour wheel.

· Blue and green flag and tiles

clip_image024 clip_image026

Ratio is Blue: Green 1:3

This is one of my favourite combinations; I love the colours within this as well as the composition. In contrast to the blue and green image of the stained glass, this is a composition of lighter tones. The blue of the flag contrasts with the pale green tiles, and this is echoed by the pattern on the flag. While these are very much paler tones than the stained glass, they seem to fit together better as similar colours, as it’s easy to imagine the shading of one into another.

· Orange and yellow flowers

clip_image028 clip_image030

Ratio Orange: Yellow 1:1This is almost 1:1 as I cropped it slightly to ensure the colours were focused on the orange and yellow.

A composition of similar colours, I found this perfect example within a flower display in a park at Buxton. I used a macro lens and focused in as much on the flowers as I could and I attempted to position them to give a feeling of equal balance without too much distracting background. Both of these colours are really vibrant and sunny, so the overall sensation from looking at this is a feeling of warmth. With warmer tones such as orange and yellow, they show a closer similarity to each other than tones such as red and purple.

· Red scarf and purple necklace

clip_image032 clip_image034

Ration Red: Violet 3:1

For this colour combination, I had trouble finding a natural example of these together, so I decided to put together a still life. After a few attempts with different clothing and a red scarf, I laid the red scarf out as a background and then positioned a necklace that was commissioned for me, that has a purple leather cord and a purple image dangling from it. I took the image with my 100mm macro and as it was indoors in the evening used flash to bring out the colours. I thought it was an interesting composition as the necklace has a little photo charm on it, and both items are indicative of my personal style. I really like this image as the red is very vibrant and eye-catching, but the purple stands out too, especially after I used flash. While I wouldn’t necessarily see these as similar, in reality they can work quite well together, as long as there is a balance towards one of the colours and that they are the vibrant tones.

Contrasting Colours

For this, I had to focus on the contrasting colour relationship produced by the inclusion of two primary colours or two secondary colours, which are separated by one third of the colour wheel.

· Green and purple flower

clip_image036 clip_image038

Ratio Violet: Green 1:3

This caught my eye as a potential image when I was looking at it, and I took the image with my 100mm macro lens. I decided to centre the flower in the middle of the image with the green stalk leading the eye to it, as the rest of the background is out of focus, the eye sees the contrasting colours more so without a distracting background. I had taken other images but I didn’t feel that the colour balance was quite right, I wanted a very strong colour

· Orange and green flower

clip_image040 clip_image042

Ratio: Orange: Green 1:1

While I took a number of images for this contrast, and I found that this combination was one that was naturally quite common, this was one of my favourites. The orange of the Crocosmia flower is very vivid, and as I used my macro lens, the flower is in focus, while the contrasting green background is blurred so that the attention is primarily on the orange and then the eye falls to the green. I had taken other images but the orange in this was much brighter and was more obviously a contrast than the others. I also feel that the positioning of the flower sweeps the eye in.

· Yellow and blue stained glass

clip_image044 clip_image046

Ratio Blue: Yellow 2:1 as the blue just outweighs the yellow

This really caught my attention and I felt it made an eye-catching composition. I was visiting Liverpool’s Metropolitan cathedral and it was a bright sunny day. Inside the cathedral, there was a lot of stained glass and as I walked around, the sun was shining brightly through the glass and casting a coloured reflection onto the neutral wall extending the pattern. As the rest of that area was quite poorly lit, it focuses the attention onto the colours. I didn’t use flash as I wanted to ensure the colours were kept as they were. The mix of the deep blue contrasts with the brightness of the yellow, as very few tones can match this.

· Red and yellow flower

clip_image048 clip_image050

Ratio Red: Yellow 1:1

I’d found it hard to find a good example of red and yellow together, and I didn’t want to resort to the obvious fast food based signs, I originally took an image of this flower as it had dark chocolate and almost black stems and leaves, and then I focused in on the heart of the flower head to get the colours and to cut out any distracting background colours. I like this as it’s not just showing a yellow and red contrast. The stamens are a very vivid bright yellow that contrast excellently with the blood red, and that then moves into a warmer, richer yellow so that there is a dual contrast between the tones. I like the close composition on this, I feel it’s eye-catching and meets my requirements.

Colour Accent

For the final part, I had to take an image where the accenting colour was a strong contrast or compliment to the principle area of the image, and that ideally the accent should only occupy a small but significant spot in order to create a spark of colour.

· Blue and red parachutes

clip_image052 clip_image054

Ratio Blue: Red 3:1

I was at the Southport air show watching a dual parachute jump, the sky was very blue on this day and the parachutists appeared quite dark against the sky due to their outfits, so that the flash of red on the Union Jack and the regimental flag really stand out as a contrast with the huge swath of blue.

· Blue and red jacket and badge

clip_image056 clip_image058

Ratio Blue: Red 3:1

I suddenly had an idea late one night when I just happened to catch sight of my new denim jacket hanging up on the wardrobe. I’d pinned a bright red university badge onto the jacket pocket, and it just stood out to me as an example of a colour accent. The next day I took a couple of images with my 100mm macro and ensured that the focus was on the pocket, however I felt that the button fastening distracted from the badge, so I unfastened to ensure that the whole pocket was blue with the focus being directly drawn to the red.

· Purple and green kite

clip_image060 clip_image062

Ration: Violet: Green 3:1

For this, we’d just bought a silk printed dragon kite and assembled it as a wall hanging, it wasn’t until I was looking at in detail and all the colours combining together that I realised this met my brief. The main body area and legs were a wonderful rich purple colour with a trim of bright green just running down the side, not only was it an interesting pattern, but the colour accent of the green really stood out against the purple.

· Red and green hoover and grass

clip_image064 clip_image066

Ratio red: Green 1:3

I absolutely love this image, and I’d found it by chance when visiting St Luke’s bombed out church in Liverpool. Not only it is an interesting and quirky composition, with an old hoover being reused, next to an old font, but colour wise, I feel that it really works. I like the way that the background of the stone and the grass are very neutral compared to the huge vivid splash of colour that is the hoover and the red ribbon. It’s also very indicative of the character of the site with old unused items being given a new life, mixed in with all the traditional remains of a church.

Bibliography

Clarke, Graham. (1997) The Photograph. Oxford University Press

Freeman, Michael (2010)The Photographers Mind. ILEX

Freeman, Michael (2007) The Photographers Eye. ILEX

Ang, Tom (2008) Digital Photography Masterclass. Dorling Kindersley

Various (2011) Horizon: Do you see what I see . BBC 8/8/2011

Appendix A: Technical Information

File Name blue red accent.jpg (Parachute)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 23/07/2011 14:21:34
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/5000
Av( Aperture Value ) 7.1
ISO Speed 640
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 3274KB

File Name blue red accent2.jpg (Jacket and badge)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 14/08/2011 21:18:55
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/20
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 400
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash On
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 6182KB

File Name red green accent.jpg (Hoover in grass)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 30/07/2011 15:37:06
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/80
Av( Aperture Value ) 7.1
ISO Speed 800
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 5653KB

File Name blue orange.jpg (Zigzag benches)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 09/08/2011 15:28:22
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/30
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 2000
Image Size 3335×4222
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 3665KB

File Name blue orange2.jpg (Aeroplane)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 23/07/2011 14:02:06
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/8000
Av( Aperture Value ) 7.1
ISO Speed 640
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 3034KB

File Name purple yellow.jpg (Silk printed dragon wing)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 14/08/2011 21:20:25
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/20
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 400
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash On
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 3105KB

File Name red green1.jpg (Watering can and grass)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 05/08/2011 17:26:33
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/125
Av( Aperture Value ) 9.0
ISO Speed 2500
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 5930KB

File Name green purple 2.jpg (Purple flower)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 09/08/2011 12:04:06
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/40
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 400
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash On
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 2451KB

File Name orange green2b.jpg (Orange flower)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 09/08/2011 14:49:02
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/200
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 640
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 3439KB

File Name red yellow.jpg (Yellow flower)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 09/08/2011 11:57:49
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/60
Av( Aperture Value ) 10
ISO Speed 640
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 2862KB

File Name yellow blue.jpg (Stained glass)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 30/07/2011 16:16:17
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/60
Av( Aperture Value ) 7.1
ISO Speed 160
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 2510KB

File Name blue green 2.jpg (Blue and green stained glass)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 14/08/2011 14:25:26
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/125
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 800
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 2131KB

File Name blue green.jpg (Blue green flag and tiles)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 14/08/2011 14:18:14
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/125
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 2000
Image Size 3456×5184
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 5135KB

File Name orange yellow 2.jpg (Orange and yellow flowers)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 14/08/2011 13:43:21
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/160
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 640
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash Off
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 2293KB

File Name red purple.jpg (Red scarf and purple necklace)

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time 15/08/2011 21:12:36
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/20
Av( Aperture Value ) 11
ISO Speed 400
Image Size 5184×3456
Flash On
Filter effect N :None
Toning effect N :None
Colour Space sRGB IEC61966-2.1
File Size 5723KB

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