Saturday, 28 May 2011

Part 3: Colour: Project: Building a library of colours

Exercise: Primary and secondary colours

Objective: To take photographs of scenes or parts of scenes dominated by each of the three primary (red yellow and blue) and secondary (green orange and violet) colours, varying the exposure by ½ EV above and below the metered exposure for the scene.

This exercise coincided nicely with a week's walking holiday in Cornwall, where the the paths and hedgerows were alive with the colours of wild (and some cultivated) flowers. The overwhelming majority of the images for this exercise are of naturally occuring colours. Following the advice in the course material I have taken many more than the six colours to demonstrate the variety  of  colours (and the difficulty in identifying them). I have used colour diagram below as a starting point and a reference. (source Wikpedia: )

I thought it would be interesting to demonstrate the whole range of colours so, starting with red here is a contact sheet of my selection with their exposure details:

 Below is the exposure (right) that most closely matches the red of the colour star above. (I thought it more accurate to use a colour displayed on a monitor, rather than trying to match a printed sample)

Red Carnation: f5.6 200mm
                                1/1000s                              1/750s                                        1/500s

Again, the closest match to pure yellow, the outer petals of the over exposed image (right) is shown below:

Yellow Dandelion: f5.6 200mm

                            1/500s                                     1/250s                                   1/180s


The pure blue was the most difficult to match, I think the darkest parts of the under exposed image (right) match the colour star most closely.

Blue Flower (unidentified): f5.6 200mm

                              1/90s                                        1/125s                                 1/180s

The best match here was the Xanthoria parientina; 'yellow scales' lichen (right)

Yellow/Orange Lichen: f8 200mm

                              1/180s                                 1/125s                                       1/90s

The green was even more difficult to match than the blue but the lower portion of the patch of weed in the over exposed frame (right) gives the nearest match.

Green Seaweed f4.8 56mm

                       1 /500s                                    1/350s                                 1/250s


I couldn't identify this flower but it gives the best match slightly underexposed (left)

Violet Flower (un-named) 1/125s 200mm

                               f8                                          f6.7                                       f5.6
What did I learn?
I have learned to look more critically at the colours in a scene and to identify them with more accuracy. For example, I am now more aware of the differences between the various hues that fall between the red and blue sections of the colour wheel, mainly due to the dominance of these colours in wild flowers. The way I conducted this exercise has also reinforced that pure colours are uncommon in nature and while we are surrounded by greens and blues, their constant interaction with each other and changing daylight, means that they are rarely pure in the landscape.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Part 3: Colour: Project: What makes a colour?

Exercise: Control the strength of a colour.

Objective: To take a series of five pictures of a brightly coloured object at exposures 1EV above and below the average (determined by the camera meter) in half EV increments to demonstrate the effect of exposure on a colour. The images are ranked in order from under to over exposure.

5770: 1/180s f16 200mm

5769:1/180s f13 200mm 

5768: 1/180s f11 200mm (average exposure)
5771: /1/180s f9.5 200mm
5772: 1/180s f8 200mm 
 Conclusion: Apart from the obvious changes in exposure, the yellow colour has become brighter with increased exposure. There is also a definite redistribution of tones in the histogram towards the right as the exposure increased.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Assignment 2: Elements of Design: Diagonals, Conclusion and Tutor Feedback

For this image I have used diagonals to frame a composition and to reinforce diagonal elements within the layout. I have chosen to use the black backdrop again as there is a lot of glass in the image and
I wanted to reduce the risk of too many reflected highlights. Once again I needed a large light source to balance the lighting on the left and used a diffuser brolly at half power with the softbox on full power.  The lighting set up was as shown below:

5728: 1/125s f20 35mm

The composition, consisting of dried beans and pulses and fresh vegetables was formed within the two rows of converging storage jars. The courgettes, asparagus, aubergine and chillies were all arranged diagonally to give movement forward to the bottom of the frame in an attempt at a "cornucopic" effect.

Elements of Design - Conclusion

This assignment has been a challenge. My original choice of subject was landscape. At the end of March the weather was not at all promising so I changed my mind and started with the raw ingredients of food, knowing that all of the work could be done indoors, independent of the weather. I quickly discovered the limit to the range of subjects that could be included and this lead to some very long periods of inactivity while I planned and thought of the best way to include all of the elements of design clearly in 10 photographs. I hope I have achieved this. Working inside has taught me about using light in different ways. I have been using studio lights for a number of years but this is the first time I have combined daylight and flash. I recently purchased "Light - Science and Magic" and look forward to improving my lighting technique and applying what I learn to future assignments.

28th May 2011 - Assignment 2: Elements of Design - Tutor Feedback

The day following receipt of my tutor's feedback, I went on a week's holiday, hence  the delay in commenting on the report.

I was pleased that my tutor found my images technically competent and that I was able to understand and demonstrate the brief. However, as with assignment 1, he would like to have seen more artistry. He found them a bit clinical and unexciting. This is my task for assingment 3, to be more inventive and original.

Assignment 2: Elements of Design: Distinct Shapes

Distinct, even if irregular, shapes.
For this element I chose diced mango as an ingredient. I stoned and diced one half of the fruit and left the other cut but not separated from the skin. I used north daylight for this shot with one silver reflector to  the right of the camera. The set up is shown below:

5699: 2s f32 80mm
(click on image to enlarge in a new window)

These mango dice were placed to emphasise their irregularity and in an attempt to achieve a loose composition. The cut in the half mango leads the eye directly into the centre of interest.

Assignment 2 Elements of Design: Triangles

At least two kinds of implied triangle:

Once again I have chosen a still life set up to illustrate the use of implied triangles to add dynamism to a composition. I started by building the first triangle and then added others. I was careful not to over complicate the set up.The lighting set up is shown below:

As I was using a black cloth backdrop, I needed a strong fill light to lift the shadows on the left. I used a diffuser brolly with the light set on half power. The softbox was set on full power.

 I have marked  four of the significant triangles in the image. There is an inverted triangle (green) which outlines the shape of the group. The kiwi fruits form an upright triangle (red) and the apples and grapes form another inverted triangle. The apples and the orange form a group of spherical objects which link to form another upright triangle (yellow).

5667: 1/125s f16 65mm

(click the image to enlarge in a new window)

Assignment 2: Elements of Design: Curves

I had a couple of attempts at this. My first image of two aubergines lacked interest. I spent some time arranging the lighting and choosing the camera position to improve the highlights from the skin. The lighting setup is shown below:

5554: 1/125s f11 35mm standard f1.8 lens.

After some more thought, I decided to use slices of fruit to show curves. The lighting is shown below: Large softbox on full power, small on ½ power.

5561: 1/125s f10 35mm standard lens.  

(click on image to enlarge in a new window)

The curves here are reinforced by the curving edge of the plate.