Exercise: Rain.

I found this exercise a little exasperating. “Imagine a magazine about rain and design an original photograph for the front cover”  BUT it had to leave the viewer in no doubt about the  subject.

So having had 3 months of solid rain and biblical flooding not far from here, the sun has come out and, at the time of writing, I am yet to see a downpour that I can respond to. I have an idea but it isn’t especially original and I need to wait until the forecast is right.  I explored ‘rain’ ideas in part 4 of  The Art of Photography so I have included the link here should the weather not change in-between now and before I hand in the last assignment.


However, in the meantime, I have been playing with different ideas but they fall short of the brief.

Image 1. I took this image of the Tate Modern as a reflection in a puddle.  The effect of the sun capturing the rain drops in the trees and the texture of the Tate Modern towers lends itself to a concept that Paul Munson MA studied for his dissertation. Very loosely he looked at photography as not only the 3D product but as a 2D effect of ink on paper. The abstract nature of this image appeals to me and fits in with the added theme of The Tate Modern. By cross processing I have added the 3 D depth but still retained a 2D surface texture that can be enjoyed as such.

However, this image would need verbal prompting; but a magazine about rain would provide that prompt.

I sent this image (albeit without the brief ) to Paul Munson to look at as it was inspired by his work.

He said…

“Looking at your picture again, it has something of a mystery about it, and also a vulnerability- there’s a tenuous grasp of something quite vague as though we are caught between three dimensions and two. The surface is is resisting the image and hence the kind of delicate look and flatness – although there is a vague sense of depth. The surface (actual surface) is more compelling and that is, for me, where photography becomes interesting. That’s why impressionists were on to something. A rejection of depth and priority of the surface. Because the pictures are surfaces and they wanted to be honest about that.”

Image 1.

Exercise: Rain.

Image 2.

This is a more conventional image. Taking the greenery away encourages the viewer to look at the rain aspect and the structure and effect of the water on the leaf.  The ‘dead’ space allows for titles and other text.




Image 3.

More conventional but more abstract then Image 2.  200mm with OCF popped. Again, taking the colour, away encourages the viewer to notice the abstract pattern created by the rain bouncing off the the concrete.




http://www.paulmunson.net/made/  Last accessed 12/04/2014



I am frustrated with myself. They are boring with maybe the exception of image 1 but it doesn’t scream out “rain” to the viewer. I prefer the rain work I did in the last unit.


CB/28 – Complementary colours.

CB/28 - Complimentary colours.

ISO 1600, f/9, 1/50 sec, 70mm. To view large image:http://wp.me/p3RVOB-12a

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.(www.joecornishgallery.com).

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: http://wp.me/p3RVOB-125

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 (www.ernst-haas.com).

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: http://wp.me/p3RVOB-120

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: http://wp.me/p3RVOB-11U

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 (www.chrisfriel.co.uk).

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: http://wp.me/p3RVOB-11Q

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.

CB/33 – Colour harmony through similar warm colours.

CB/33 - Colour harmony through warm colours.

ISO 1000, f/9, 1/80, 70mm. To see a larger image: http://wp.me/p3RVOB-11K

Harmony through similar warm colours:

This is a difficult image because although the orange tones are warm, the light temperature makes this a ‘colder’ warm harmony then I would have liked (though we are told in the notes not to worry about colour temperature at this time). Also the yellow hues start merging into greens albeit they are yellowish green. Yellow /green does start to creep into cold hues. When I compared this image to my ‘cold’ images it was then easier to describe the image as warm and then I re-read Itten’s cold/ warm contrast teachings where he states that defining colours as cold and warm can be very misleading (Birren,1994:45). Ernst Haas ‘Impala Grazing – Kenya’ (www.ernst-hass.com) is a warm image of orange and yellow hues where the shape of the Impala is mirrored in the landscape. A hint of green is in the background too. I felt better after I viewed his image against mine.

Tutor comments:
You choose quite a wide, almost panoramic frame for this shot of the highland cow. I might have chose something a little deeper to take in more of the context, but there is a subtle balance between tone and texture here, warmer than the previous image but still has a wild feel to it.

My response:
I will probably be altering the crop on this image frequently to suit different purposes. This letter box crop suited something else I also had in mind for this image and hence this decision at the time.