Category Archives: 1 – What makes a colour

Exercise – Primary and Secondary Colours

wheel-a

In this exercise I have taken 18 x photos, choosing colour as the theme and I have attempted to match as closely as possible the colours on the colour wheel as illustrated on page 108 of the OCA Art of Photography text book. A PDF copy of which is included above this text, please click on the link to see the PDF copy.

I have photographed each subject three times at half-stop differences with one half-stop above and one half-stop below the light meter’s recommended setting to illustrate how the colours will appear to alter when deliberately choosing to use a different setting other than that recommended by the camera.

Referring to the colour wheel from page 108, I have worked my way around the wheel, clockwise, starting from the top my first three images represents the first colour on the wheel, yellow, which is considered a primary colour in the spectrum of reflected colours, but is a secondary colour in the spectrum for coloured light. The reason for this is in the light spectrum yellow is made from a mixture of colours of light.
This images were taken at 1/80 between f/4, f/4.5 and f/5 in RAW with no alterations in post processing.
Yellow-f4.0-resizedYellow-f4.5-resizedYellow-f5.0-resized
This image appears to me to have the closest representation of the yellow on the wheel at f/4 which was half a stop above the metered value.
Yellow-f4.0-resized

Orange is the next colour on the wheel and this is considered as a secondary colour as it is made with a mixture of yellow and red. Camera was set to 1/60 between f/4, f/4.5, f/5.
Orange-f4-resizedOrange-4.5-resizedOrange-f5-resized

This image taken at f/4.5 is the closest match to the orange on the wheel which was the metered value.
Orange-4.5-resized

The next colour is red, which is considered to be a primary colour for both reflective and light colours.
The camera was set to 1/60 between f6.3, f/7.1 and f/8.
Red-f6.3-resizedRed-f7.1-resizedRed-f8-resized

The closest match is f/6.3 a half-stop higher than the recommended metered value.
Red-f6.3-resized

The next colour on the wheel is violet which is a secondary colour and is made from a mixture of red and blue, this is a tougher colour to find and after much searching I came upon a small wild violet growing against a wall of my house. Camera set to 1/125 between f/9, f/10 and f/11.
Violet-f9.0-resizedViolet-f10-resizedViolet-f11-resized

Again my choice for the closest match is a half stop higher than the metered value for more light on to the image.
Violet-f9.0-resized

The next colour on the wheel is blue, this colour is considered to be a primary colour for both reflected colour and coloured light. I used the sky as my subject for this image as it is probably the most commonly found, natural, source of blue in photographic images.
Camera was set to 1/80 between f/11, f/13 and f/14.
Blue-f11-resizedBlue-f13-resizedBlue-f14-resized
In this selection I have chosen the image a half stop lower; so reducing the light on to the image and thus making the image a little darker to a deeper blue. (f/14).
Blue-f14-resized

The final colour on the wheel is green and this colour is a secondary colour in the reflective spectrum being mage from a mix of blue and yellow, but is a primary colour as light in the light spectrum fro example as used by computer monitor screens, etc.
My camera was set to 1/60 between f/4, f/4.5 and f/5.
Green-f4-resizedGreen-f4.5-resizedGreen-f5-resized

My final choice to the nearest match on the wheel is the darkest image taken at f/5.
Green-f5-resized

Exercise – Control the strength of a colour – cameras with a manual option

f16
In this exercise, I photographed a print of a poppy on the side of a shopping bag and manually adjusted the camera’s settings to alter the appearance of the strength of colour.

Having set up my camera and subject, I set my camera to manual and set a shutter speed to give me a range of apertures. I then metered through the camera to find the average metering setting for a normally acceptable exposure as calculated by my camera, in this instance it was f11 at 1/5sec.
I then took five photos starting at f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22.

The results:
f5.6-resized
f/5.6 – Very over exposed, the colour is orange in tone with the high key colour lost and now turned to white. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:255, G:62, B:63 and HSB – H:0°, S:76%, B:100%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:255, G:0, B:26 and HSB – H:354°, S:100%, B:100%.

f8-resized
f/8 – Over exposed, the colour has stronger tones of orange but has an almost florissant quality about it and in some circumstances this may produce a more pleasing effect if properly controlled. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:253, G:13, B:52 and HSB – H:350°, S:95%, B:99%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:222, G:0, B:15 and HSB – H:356°, S:100%, B:87%.

Average metering f11-resized
f/11 – The average meter setting according to my camera for a standard expectable exposure. This original colour appears to me to have small tones of orange in the colour. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:247, G:6, B:77 and HSB – H:355°, S:76%, B:97%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:138, G:0, B:0 and HSB – H:0°, S:100%, B:54%.

ed.jpg”>f16-resized
f/16 – Slightly under exposed the colour looks richer a more red in colour and losing the orange tones. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:197, G:24, B:44 and HSB – H:353°, S:88%, B:77%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:98, G:13, B:18 and HSN – H:356°, S:87%, B:38%.

f22-resized
f/22 – Very over exposed, the colour is now much darker and also gives me an impression of a darker mood to the image. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:129, G:6, B:24 and HSB – H:351°, S:95%, B:51%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:54, G:0, B:0 and HSB – H:0°, S:100%, B:21%.