Exercise – Primary and Secondary Colours

For this course the primary colours are the three used in art, Red, Yellow and Blue – reflected colours, such as paint.  The secondary colours to these primary’s are Green, orange and violet, and are created by mixing two of the primary colours together.

This colour wheel shows the primary colours with the secondary colours between, which can be made by a mix of the primary colours.  For example red and yellow mixed will create orange.  The wheel also shows the complementary opposite colours across the wheel, as they are completely opposite, with no element of the opposite colour in it. The wheel also has the warm colours (Red, orange and yellow) on one side, and the cooler colours (Violet, blue and green) on the other.

My colour Wheel copy

For this exercise I needed to find six scenes dominated by one of the six colours above – not an easy task when you can’t go anywhere due to the snow, other than the woods round the corner.  Combine that with the fact that it’s January, there’s no flora and fauna around, and all the snow just seems to turn the world black and white, so I really had to think quite hard! It mentions in the exercise briefing that you need to make sure you don’t just end up shooting painted doors, as there’s no real challenge to that, as you are pretty much just photographing a paint manufacturer’s catalogue!

With each of the images I needed to bracket the exposure, and then pick the exposure which was the closest match to the colour in the wheel, so off I trotted to the woods – well, not so much trotted as waded through the snow – and although I thought I was going to struggle, I’m quite pleased with some of the examples I came up with, and 4 out of the 6 images were taken in the woods, I only had to resort to 2 still life images, taken when I got home from my walk.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this exercise, and with my use of colour.  I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find colours in less obvious places, and it shows that with a bit of looking it’s possible to find colour anywhere, even in a monochrome snowy landscape!

Exercise – Control the Strength of a Colour

Having had really good feedback from my tutor on my assignments for Part Two: Elements of Design (post here: http://heidibocalog.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/elements-of-design-assignment/ ) I can now move on to Part Three: Colour, where I can now explore the use of colour as another element of design, and how I can use colour to direct the viewer, and control how the image works.

For the first exercise I needed to manually control my exposure in order to “bracket” my exposure around the correct exposure, as suggested by the cameras TTL (Through the Lens) metering system.  Using that exposure as my starting point I needed to change my exposure by half a stop, adjusting the aperture to allow more or less light in.

Having set my camera on a tripod as I was shooting indoors on a pretty dark, grey day, with a shutter speed of 1/30th Sec I framed up on my exercise ball (apologies for the product placement!). At 1/30th second, my camera suggested that the correct exposure was f/5.6 so I took 5 images bracketed around f/5.6. I then needed to look at all 5 images alongside each other and look at the way the change in exposure changes the way the colour appears.

f/4 – 1 stop under exposed, the saturation of the red is reduced, giving it a slightly orangey/pinky hue
f/4.5 – ½ stop under exposed – I think the red in this shot is closer to the true object, and is definitely brighter than the f/5.6 exposure and I prefer this to the metered exposure.
f/5.6 – the suggested exposure according to the cameras TTL (through the lens) metering system.

Personally I think this exposure is a little on the dark side, and the red is darker than the true colour.

f/6.3 – ½ a stop over exposed. The red starts to become over-saturated and dark, reducing the intensity of the red hue as it gets darker.
f/8 – 1 stop over-exposed. The red hue is definitely getting too dark and saturated, and almost taking on a hint of purple.
It’s interesting to see how the change of exposure and saturation can affect the appearance of the colour hue, I’d never really paid that much attention to it in my past work, although I’d noticed it, I’d never really analysed the effect.