Saturday, 31 December 2011

Self Assessment and Reflections on Assignment 3

This has been a hard section for me - not because the subject of colour is itself difficult but because I aimed too high too soon. In my minds eye there was a cohesive set of colour images around a theme or in a particular style for this assignment.  

My first set of images were completed within the time line suggested by my tutor but were boring. Most were staged with items of the required colour placed before another colour. Not very creative, not very difficult but would have met the brief. That's not the way I intend to complete this course by taking the easy option. To get the most out of this learning opportunity I need to improve both my camera skills and creativity - even if that means the course overall takes longer. 

The second set of images are now 6 months late. I'm still not entirely happy with them, by that I mean there is always room for improvement, but they at least demonstrate that I understand Von Goethe's colour theory and can use it -  although in some cases I have chosen to ignore it if I think it improves the image. (Not sure how that will be received by my tutor when it comes to marking but I'll find out soon enough)

Some of the most important learning points for me relating to colour are:
  • Colours provoke a psychological effect, a feeling, an emotion. They are a very powerful non verbal language which we react to subjectively, depending on our experiences, but which are largely instinctive.
  • Colours convey different meanings to different cultures but some colour effects have universal meaning e.g. Blue = cool.
  • Colours are also known to have a physical reaction. E.g. when surrounded by the colour yellow a person feels more optimistic because the brain releases the chemical serotonin.
  • There are prescribed relationships in colour and ways of combining them that are acceptable to the viewer therefore personal expression in the use of colour demands creativity.
  • Generally there is more of a sense of movement in an image with contrasting colours and accents than there is with similar or complimentary colours. A colour accent acts in the same way as a small object stands out clearly from the background to create a point of interest.   
In working through this section of the course I have learnt how to better use colour as a tool in composition and to be far more self critical of my work. Perhaps in this case too self critical. I have given myself until the 7th January to complete the write up and post the completed assignment to my tutor. On reflection I need to accept that an assignment may never be perfect, (One of my worst faults is that I am a perfectionist) and that only completing the work to the best of my abilities at the time is not the same as failure.

Colour Contrasts - Red and Blue

Colour Contrasts - Red and Blue

Both of these images show a red/blue colour combination but are markedly different in style.

Image 1 - Trawlers at Pittenweem
ISO 125, shutter speed 1/100 at f/11
Both the blue and red are powerful colours in this image which has been cropped tightly to remove any distracting elements and ensure that the colours are the dominant features. In this instance the image was underexposed by 0.3 stop to increase the colour saturation.

Image 2 - Poppies
ISO 100, shutter speed 1/320sec at f/8
In order to balance the deeply saturated red with the paler blue in this image the blue needs to occupy a larger proportion of the frame. This has been achieved by using a low viewpoint when taking the image to increase the area of sky. In hindsight the saturation of the blue could have been increased by using a polarising filter to increase it's depth further.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Colour Relationships and Orange

The next few images show colour combinations including orange.

Image 1 - Walking In The Rain
Similar Colours

ISO 400, shutter speed 1/100 sec at f/5
 The harmonious colour combination of yellow and orange is demonstrated here. The yellow is created by the fluorescent indoor lighting. The passer by with orange umbrella provides a focal point in the image . The juxtaposition between the actual cold wet weather conditions and the usual association of warmth and bright sunny days with these colours adds an extra element to the image.

Image 2
Colour Contrast

ISO 400, shutter speed 1/400sec at f/14
 This is an example of contrasting colours in an orange and green combination. The colours of the fishing nets being repeated on the old harbour masters house.

Theoretically there is too much orange in the frame to qualify as a contrasting colour combination and likewise there is too much green for the colour to qualify as an accent. Despite this I think the colour contrast is demonstrated well. The orange is eye catching and energetic immediately grabbing our attention.

Both colours in the foreground being repeated on the house helps to add depth to the image.

Image 3
Colour Accent

ISO 125, shutter speed 1/100sec at f/9
This image could have been cropped to show only one orange buoy which would have created an image with the colour ratios nearer to the prescribed "ideal". However I find the image more interesting with the 3 orange elements. Cropping would also have removed the darker area in the top left corner or the rope detail at the bottom right corner.

Image 4
Complimentary Colours

ISO 100, shutter speed 1/250sec at f/7.1
Generally it is suggested that there is more of a sense of movement in an image with contrasting colours and accents that there is with complimentary colours.

In this image however, despite being complimentary colours, there is a strong sense of movement between the orange and blue. There is tension in the image because the proportion of each colour is approx 50/50.

Because orange is a brighter colour than blue a 50/50 split creates a sense of imbalance. Orange being the brighter colour attracts the eye first which then travels to the blue but soon travels back to the dominant orange. Took me a few minutes to sort that one out in my head  - 50/50 = imbalance - but i got there in the end....