Friday, 26 April 2013


Exercise - Primary and secondary colours (18 photographs)

This part of the course deals with primary and secondary colours, as demonstrated in the colour wheel. The object of this exercise is to photograph scenes or part of scenes that are each dominated by each of the primary and secondary colours.

With each of the colours, three photographs were taken, one at the average meter reading for the camera, one 1/2 stop under exposed and one 1/2 stop over exposed.

As was shown earlier in the strength of colour exercise, varying the exposure will alter the colour within each photograph. Therefore one of these three photographs should closely match the colour circle.

With orange, I found that the photograph that was 1/2 stop under exposed was the closest match to the colour circle

I found the same with yellow the photograph that was 1/2 stop under exposed was the closest match to the colour circle.

No surprises to see the 1/2 stop under exposed was the closest match again.

Purple was a tricky colour to match, I tired and failed to find a suitable match until I found this indoor plant at a garden centre. The 1/2 under exposed photograph is the closet to the colour wheel, I can see a pattern forming here!

Green was a challenge to say the least, it was one of the most common colours in nature, but could I find a suitable match to the colour circle. I thought this colour would have been the easiest to find a match. It was not until I found this holly bush that i found a suitable shade of green, in this case the 1//2 stop under photograph is the closet match to the colour circle.

Blue was another difficult colour to find naturally and after trying long and hard to find a natural blue, I had to resort to a man made blue in the form of a leather Ipad cover, again the closest match to the colour circle was found to be the 1/2 stop under exposed photograph.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Tutor Feedback - Assignment 2

Overall Comments
Richard, this assignment moves on well from the first one, although the combination of colour and black & white images doesn’t work that well within a themed piece of work, mainly because both mediums have very different qualities. You may want to consider converting the rest of the shots to monochrome or changing the black & white shots back to colour. I say this because the assessors will grade your work down should your assessment submission contain this mix of both mediums.

Assessment Potential
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback. 

Feedback On Assignment
Single Point: this shot works well although it doesn’t hold much interest for the viewer, what it does is take the eye from the person on the left hand side of the frame through to the right hand side of the frame in a quite quick and fluid movement through the use of the fixed diagonal of the walkway. This kind of image can be useful in terms of directing the viewer to a particular area of a photograph in a similar way to some of Lee Friedlander’s quite complex city-scapes.

Two Points: this is a good image and more than anything else shows how photography is able to ask the simplest of questions and communicate this across to the viewer. It also highlights your observation skills and instinctive nature, photographers need both of these in high abundance and your overall approach to getting this shot highlights these factors very well.

Several Points: I think this shot would work well in black and white, and with a little tweak on the contrast side of things it should come across a lot better than this colour version. The image does work well through your use of composition that works very well with the subject matter; we are drawn to the tie rings that takes the eye up the right hand side of the shot and to where the boy is playing.

Vertical & Horizontal Lines: this is a great shot with the black and white conversion working well to give the image a kind of film-noir styling, the person in the background has a slightly mysterious presence and all sorts of questions can be asked about the photograph. I can imagine the exposure was quite difficult to achieve so well done on that challenge!

Diagonals: you are right about diagonals within images, a simple tilt of the camera can create a more dynamic photograph and of course perspectives can be created from any given viewpoint. The image works well because the seagulls are imitating the diagonal of the quayside and although the gull in the top left of the frame is a little distracting (you could have cloned this out), overall the shot continues within a particular style.

Curves: the flatter perspective of this image accentuates the curves so that the eye follows the lines to the middle of the frame and then out again on the right hand side, this sense of movement combines well with the subject matter. Again good use of composition means that the viewer dwells on the curves rather than the actual details in the image.

Distinct Shapes: yes I agree that a little fill in flash would have helped this shot and although I can see what you are trying to do, the composition comes across as a little cluttered; maybe that’s the point? We can recognize the shapes although I think you could have concentrated a little more on the textures, possibly by getting a little closer to the subject to pick out a particular detail.

Implied Triangles: the first example would have worked just as well without the train in the frame and although you could argue that the train gives the shot more contexts, I like the way that the natural forms of the bridge and church spire work together.

The second example is a quite different style of image and is well thought through and works well, I think what you have underlined with this shot is how a photographer approaches something that they have seen many times before. It is a basic concept but when you become involved it changes tact and has endless possibilities.

Rhythm & Pattern: both of these elements could be considered quite similar in a pictorial sense although for me rhythm is more connected to photography in its basic form and as such I see it as a more musical form. Your shot of the windows underlines that with its rigid 4/4 beat, there cold be possibilities for accenting any of these beats, someone at one of the windows for example. The pattern shot is similar in terms of the style, very formal with a deadpan documentary feel to the brickwork. 

Learning Log/Blog/Suggested Reading/Viewing/ Pointers For The Next Assignment

Your blog is coming together really well and it is good to see you writing about other photographers work and getting out to exhibitions and talks, this kind of study can only increase your knowledge of the subject whilst also informing your own work. I must get to that Peter Fraser show at St Ives and I’m also sad to have missed the talk on his work, in my own town as well!

Are you intending to put the whole of this second assignment up on your blog? I think you need to include all of the images and accompanying text, better to do that now rather than at the end of the module.

I can see you are keeping the momentum going well and have started work on the third assignment, a couple of photographers worth looking at are William Eggelston (I didn’t know Peter Fraser went over to work with him!) and Stephen Shore, both were instrumental in getting colour photography accepted as a valid art form by the major art institutions in the early 1970s. Ernst Haas pushed colour photography as far as possible in the 1960s and although his personal work never got the acclaim it should have done, there are a number of books starting to come out which feature many previously unseen images. Here’s a link to the Steidl one.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Colour Wheel

Primary and secondary colours 

This is a standard colour circle or wheel and is based on the painters primaries of red, yellow and blue (RYB),  and their secondary or complementary opposites green, violet and orange. Secondary colours are those made by mixing two primaries, i.e. red & yellow making orange. 

 As stated in the study notes, placing them in the form of a circle is a useful way of showing that they are indeed opposites in the way we perceive them.

The generally accepted light values, Goethe's Theory of Colours (1810), determined by Johann von Goethe, a German poet, playwright and government minister are as follows: 

  • Yellow - 9
  • Orange - 8
  • Red & green - 6
  • Blue - 4
  • Violet -3

In the next part of this section on colour requires me to start building a library of colours, photographing scenes or parts of scenes that are each dominated by a single one of the primary and secondary colours. 

I have started to note down in my study note book various locations and scenes where I could find the colours to match the circle. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

What makes a colour?

Exercise: Control the strength of a colour (5 Photographs)

There are several techniques to give you control over a colour in a photograph at the time of shooting. One of the most basic is over saturation. 

This exercise calls for a series of images to show how colour changes with exposure, as under exposure produces a stronger colour while over exposure produces a weaker colour. 

In the series of photographs below, I varied the aperture by 1/2 stop each time to see what effect this had on the original colour. 

I wanted to photograph pure red, as I thought this was the best colour to demonstrate the effect of different exposure. Where do you find red doors? the fire station of course!

All of these images were taken at Bude Fire Station on an overcast afternoon in March. 

The RGB figures for each image were taken from Lightroom and are displayed under each image. 

Image 1
R- 91.2 G- 22 B- 27

Image 1 was taken at 1/125sec @ f4. This was the cameras metered setting for this image to be correctly exposed. 

Image 2
R- 85.4 G- 2.7 B- 21.5

Image 2 was taken at 1/2 stop under exposed, 1/125sec @ f4.5

Image 3
R- 79 G - 0 B- 16.3

Image 3 was taken at 1 stop under exposed, 1/125sec @ f5

Image 4
R- 91.2 G- 22 B- 27

Image 4 was taken at 1/2 stop over exposed, 1/125sec @ f3.5

Image 5
R- 100 G- 28.1 B- 30

Image 5 was taken at 1 stop over exposed, 1/125sec @ f3.2

As you can see from the sequence of photographs above, the actual colour changes with exposure, images 2 & 3 produce a stronger colour as these images are under exposed and in images 4 & 5 the over exposure creates a weaker colour. 

The RGB values for each image show that as the exposure decreases the red value decreases, and conversely as the exposure increases so does the red value.