Assignment 3: Tutor Feedback and Response.

 This post contains the general feedback and response.   Individual image feedback and my response is placed under the relevant image.

Overall Comments

This is an excellent submission, well structured and easy to find all the necessary information from research through to the larger res jpegs.  Your labelling system is much easier to follow this time, and the use of thumbnails embedded into the pdf doc with the text is most helpful.

Your independent research is thorough and focused, and you include a separate document full of detail and links to appropriate practitioners and their work. You also look beyond photography to colour theory both current and historical and this provides evidence of high engagement and interest and can only benefit your theoretical understanding and practical work.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity


You chose landscape and Snowdonia as the subject for this assignment and immediately recognized the potential limitations in some of the elements. But I don’t this really hindered you at all in any way and you have produced a really good set of images.  Many of the examples offer quite subtle interpretations of the colour relationships and that’s a good thing, looking at the real world.

You also relate your work here with that of other practitioners, and this reveals both the level and depth of your research and your visual literacy.

Overall images:
So a very good set, with some really well produced and composed images of landscapes. The variation in subject and approach must be applauded, and it’s clear that you spent a great deal of time and effort thinking about what you wanted to achieve.

Learning Log
Your Blog is in great shape, with all exercises complete, well documented and fully illustrated. This also reveals the amount of wok that you’re putting into the course, and a clear indication that you’re not just going through the numbers but engaging at a high and proactive level.

My response:

I am relieved. Long may feedback like this continue. I honestly didn’t know if my interpretation of the assignment was what the tutor was looking for but it seems my instinct was correct. I learnt an awful lots and for the first time was able to step back from technical exercises and more obvious graphic design and explore a subject that rarely discussed in forums I have been through.


Note for tutor.

Please find images CB/28 – CB/43 below. Click ‘older posts’ at the bottom to access any that aren’t displayed on this page. 

Please find the coursework under the right hand category section:

Art of Photography – part 3 – Exercises.
Art of Photography – part 3 – Research.

The PDF with image index, introduction, write up and the bibliography for entire module is on email.

CB/28 – Complementary colours.

CB/28 - Complimentary colours.

ISO 1600, f/9, 1/50 sec, 70mm. To view large image:

Complementary colours:

As I have painfully discovered, it is nearly impossible to find complementary colours isolated from any other colour in the landscape. Very flat light also hindered me but the balance of complementary colours worked well for me here. The top left of the image contains red and the right side contains green of approximately the same saturation and 1:1 ratio (Birren,1994:59). The two blocks of colour are balanced by means of the bottom left of the forest containing green and the bottom right containing red. The house is the central feature with blue tones that complement the orange on the water line. This second complementary pair contrasts and gives a central point to the image where the eye is drawn. Graphically the image is well balanced with a stabilizing waterline and the ‘single point’ house punctuates and is placed to give emphasis to the domineering backdrop. It is also positioned opposite the frame edge it faces. The red and green hues are reflected subtly in the water. Joe Cornish ‘Swaledale’ is one example of similar use of red and green in land scape.(

Tutor response:
This landscape offers a subtle combination of colour with an autumnal view of a wooded hillside across the lake, both colour and subject are complementary with the geometry of the house and the soft organic woodland.

CB/29 – Complementary colours.

CB/29 - Complimentary colours.

ISO 800, f/9, 1/200, 70mm.  To view a large image:

I desperately wanted an Ernst Haas pure yellow and lilac sky in the prescribed ratio but this is what I got. Haas managed to get his sunsets in the ideal ratio and they look fantastic. ‘Navada Sky’ for example (

Where yellow meets orange and blue meets violet is where the complementary hues sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. The ratio of 3:1 (Birren,1994:59) holds in the sky and sea but reverses in stark contrast on the land.
It’s the sort of sunset that would have inspired W. Turner and, as I found in my research, his image ’The Morning After the Deluge’ was influenced by Goethe’s colour wheel and he uses a similar colour combination. There is also great contrast in the dynamic range that also demonstrates Itten’s ‘law of colour contrast’. Yellow/orange in this saturation are sometimes thought to be psychologically stimulating colours. Violet /blue, although complements visually, might actually contrast psychologically. Itten teaches that cold gives a sense of distance and warm colours bring the ‘distance’ forward (Birren,1994:46).

Tutor comment:
Turner would certainly have been impressed with this sunset – and it’s good that you are making reference to work outside of photography – painting is always a good source of inspiration for colour and composition. The image I’m looking at tends towards the ‘similar’ colours, with powerful and saturated yellows and oranges, and I can’t readily identify the complementary element of violet/blue.

My response:
This image nearly did end up in with ‘similar’ warm colours but then I realised that yellow, blue and violet actually sit on the cold side of the colour wheel. (violet/blue in the clods and sea as I see it). Johannes Itten comment about warm and cold colours being misleading is sometimes worth mentioning in cases like this. He states that cold colours can still have an element of warmth to them, and conversely with warm colours.

CB/30 – Complementary colours.

CB/30 - Complimentary colours.

ISO 500, f/11, 1/400, 52mm. To see a larger image:

Complementary colours:

I was a little concerned that the two spots of yellow in this image and also the spread of grey would render this as not being strictly a complementary colour image. So I referred to Itten’s suggested complementary colour example,‘Madonna of the Chancellor Rolin’ (Birren,1994:50). I found that although the painting is an entirely different subject matter, the red hue was present and dominant at the front of the frame and green in the background with splashes of other colour present.
The purity of red and green in the foreground of this image, at a 1:1 ratio, is reflected in the de-saturated red/ green in the spit of land situated in the middle ground. This lends to a sense of distance (Birren,1994:46).

Tutor Comment:
The third image with the bright red postbox and the green pasture, balanced at each side of the composition works well (the Landrover, too of course). There’s a nice balance overall to this shot with the moody sky the detail in the stone cottage and the subtle rendering of the fields and lake on the horizon. The postbox could also be seen as an example of a colour point, immediately drawing the eye.

My response:
The dominance of post box could have enable this image to sit in the ‘colour accent’ category. However here I wanted to explore the colour ratios and desaturated repetition in the middle ground.

CB/31 – Complementary colours.

CB/31 - Complimentary colours.

ISO 320, f/10, 1/125, 42mm. To see larger image:

Complementary colours:

Blue and orange. Although the scene isn’t Itten’s suggested ratio of 3:1(Birren,1994:61), trying to achieve that in this scene would be futile. The layering of de-saturated orange and blue gives a sense of distance and yet the sky is brought forward (Birren,1994:46). The orange ‘wash’ over the blue gives the image a warm feel. This ‘orange wash’ effect is something I see in various artists and photographers work especially in sea and boat scenes albeit they are often not as tranquil! An extreme photograph with an ‘orange wash’ can be seen in ‘10 hours west of mili atollmarshall islands upcoming’ by Chris Friel (

Tutor comment:
The use and balance of colour in the fourth shot really captures a sense of mood, time and season very well. I can see the complementary element here, very subtle but present. It’s a lovely composition.

My response:
Nothing to add in response.

CB/32 – Colour harmony through similar cold colours.

CB/32 - Colour harmony through similar cold colours.

ISO 2000, f/11, 1/320, 32mm. To see larger image:

I’m not sure too many photographers would bother getting the camera out in these conditions and I am yet to find an image to refer to that is quite so gloomy as this! However, the colours are on the cold side of Itten’s colour wheel. The foreground green provides a lift on a dreary morning. Various blues through to white are also present with subtle yellow hues and de-saturated greys from the cold side of the colour wheel (Birren,1994:54).

Tutor comment:
I think there is a real atmosphere in this shot, cold and miserable it might have been, but this is the country we choose to live in. This works very well especially with the green rope in the left foreground. The nicely exposed sky (the eye is drawn to that textural detail and light at the top right) is reflected in the houses and roves.

My response:
It was healthy to explore cold colours. Had it not been for the assignment brief I don’t think I would have bothered but I can now see how I probably dismiss opportunities too easily based on weather.