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.

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