Posts tagged ‘Colour’

August 6, 2013

Exercise: Judging colour temperature

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercises on p136 & p139 are two parts of a whole story about judging colour balance. This function is also know as white balance because it sets the very brightest parts of the scene to pure white. Although I thought I had a fairly good handle on what white balance is (when I’m in the sea I set manual WB see below), when using new functions on my camera I like to know what they do. I most often just leave my white balance set to auto and then adjust it slighting in Lightroom if necessary. For the exercise we are using a Danbo (which doesn’t have a strong colour – he’s amazon cardboard box coloured). First I took a few shoots inside (with no lights on, just available daylight) to check the sorts of looks each setting produces.

As you can see, if you hover the mouse over the thumbnails it lists the white balance (WB) setting selected from the camera (you can click to open them bigger in a gallery but its easier to compare them with the thumbnails). The only extra one I added was the auto white balance which has been auto white balanced in Lightroom. I didnt include the flash ones because this post is related to available light photography and not supplied light such as a flash or strobe.
White Balance sliders in Lightroom 4 White balance is made up of Temperature (measured in K for Kelvin) and Tint and those appear as two sliders in LR. Also you can set similar presets (daylight,cloudy,tungsten etc) in a similar way as you can set in the camera. As shot will use the cameras WB settings. The difference here between the auto white balance in the camera and the auto white balance in lightroom was so minimal I could hardly tell a difference by looking at the pictures. However the camera one was 3900K with tint +18 and the auto one was 3850k with tint +17 which is ever so slightly bluer looking with a touch more magenta.

As you can see, the camera presets have a marked difference (apart from underwater which is frankly just confusing as I was expecting that to be really red, but it seems to be just auto with an extra +1 tint so we’ll ignore that one). The sunny setting warms the whole photo up to 5000k (+5 tint). The shade setting warms it even further 7250k (-1 tint). Cloudy is in between them at 5800k (+5 tint). The next two are for dealing with different types of artificial light, incandescent (tungsten lights to you and me) and fluorescent (like you get in shops and offices). These two sets of lights obviously behave quite differently. Incandescent is way down at 2700K (0 tint) and fluorescent is at 4200k but with a massive magenta tink of +53. While I was googeling to check that incandescent actually meant tungsten I found this really useful link.

Anyway, once I took Danbo outside for the real part of the exercise things got pretty interesting. For this exercise I took shots in the sunlight in the middle of the day, shots in the shade in the middle of the day and shots in the sunlight at the end of the day when the sun was low (sometimes called magic hour because the warm colour of the light makes everything look so nice). Here they all are compared.

As you can see depending on if you’re in the sun or the shade and what time of day it is the white balance presets give you different results. The shady images are more blue than the sunny ones and the low sun ones are a really warm yellowy colour. As you can also see, the LR auto WB has quite a different effect on each bringing it back to neutral colours, although we wouldn’t want to in the case of the low sun because we usually shoot at that time of day expressly for the colour balance of the sun at that time. My favourite one? Well the colour of Danbo in the auto WB magic hour is the nicest but I do like auto WB sunny Danbo too. Which one do you think is the best white balance?

When I’m in the sea using shooting available light I use a red filter (called a magic filter). I have to set the manual white balance to allow the camera to compensate for the filter. The filter goes on the back of the lens like this.
Magic Filter

and I set the manual white balance using my hand like this
Setting the white balance manually

This is a shot where I’ve used a magic filter (in this case I actually manually white balanced on the ship since it was white, and with my larger dome my hand doesnt always fill enough of the frame to get a good reading):

And this is a non-filtered available light shot where I’ve tried to white balance on the sand in LR afterwards, as you can see the sea in the top is also white but the blue has gone a horrible colour.

August 1, 2013

Assignment 3: Colour

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This assignment is to demonstrate combinations of colours to show deliberate relationships of harmony & contrast. The assignment is broken down into four types of relationship which I have put as headings above each section of photographs. We were asked to vary the subject matter by ‘finding’ situations where the colour relationship already exists and also ‘setting up’ situations to manufacture the relationship. I wanted an overall look to my assignment despite having to both find and set up the colours so I choose flowers as my overall subject to give the assignment a bit of coherence, sometimes I could find the colours within the flowers and their natural surroundings and sometimes I set up the backdrop by holding a coloured card behind them. So without further ado…

Complimentary colours
These are colours which face each other across the colour wheel (of primary and secondary colours). Click into see the images bigger and read the descriptions to see if I set up the colours or found them.

Similar colours
These are warm and cool colours which are next to each other on the colour wheel.

Contrasting colours
These are colours which contrast strongly and are spaced about a third of the way around the wheel from each other.

Colour Accents
These are images where a small splash of colour sits against a much larger area of another colour as a spot or accent of colour.

April 21, 2013

Exercise: Colour into tones in black & white

by Suzy Walker-Toye


The exercise on p119 is about trying to explain the use of colour filters on the outcome of a black and white photo. The exercise gives you the option of using actual colours filters on your camera of you have them or faking it with software if you do not. As I do not I choose to fake it with software as directed and I discovered something interesting (if not wholly unexpected). The sliders in LR (and probably photoshop is the same) do NOT mimic traditional filters. They can, if you know what you are doing with the sliders, and if you already know how traditional filters work, but I think this will confuse many people taking the OCA course (I did me, until I had it properly explained by Mike, B&W extraordinaire).

So what is the difference? Well, a traditional colour filter will lighten the area of that colour and darken the area of the complimentary colour in the resulting black and white image. So an orange filter would be used to darken a blue sky for example. In contrast the sliders in LR only darken and lighten the colour of that slider and all the other colours remain untouched. To demonstrate this I have taken a colour photo with all the primary & secondary colours, Blue,Red,Yellow,Orange,Violet, and Green.

These first photos below were processed using the sliders in LR. I made virtual copies of the colour photo and then, as directed, converted to black and white and tinkered with the b&w mix sliders for each. However, I noticed that the default position of the sliders on the neutral were not all the same (not a great place from which to start a comparison so I created another “neutral” with all the slider at -35.

Neutral b&w conversion – and default sliders, and next to that the increased yellow slider as an example…

LR Neutral LR Neutral Sliders LR Increased Yellow slider

Below is the set of LR slider based conversions. Notice for that each conversion, only the colour of that slider has been affected..

A photoshop plug in called Silver Efex Pro actually does have the facility to correctly mimic the use of tradition filters and their effects so here are the results of the same photo being run through against different filters.

You can see from this that the green filter not only lightens the green background but also darkens the red chilli, and also noticeably darkens the pruple box (because of the red element making up the purple from blue). Hopefully you’ve found this post interesting.

April 2, 2013

Exercise: Primary and Secondary Colours

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Primary & Secondary Colours

Part three of the course is all about colour. I love colour photography and usually find it much more visually satisfying that black & white images so I thought this chapter would be quite easy. How wrong, it seems to be the hardest one so far! As explained in my previous post, for the last few months that I’ve been contemplating this one I’ve also been selling off all my gear, consequently I have been doing my exercises with my iPhone and so have skipped over the exercise on p107 because you need a camera with more than automatic exposure (I may well go back to this one in due course). This exercise is all about finding colours with a specific hue. Click the images below to open up the gallery….

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