colour

2016

It’s currently 1:42am on Saturday, December 31st, 2016. 

When I was little, the countdown to Christmas went by in the time it took you to blink. Then before you knew it you were counting down the days until New Year, and until you had to go back to school, and that seemed to go even faster.

But I’m grown now, and the end of 2016 feels like these last few months have staggered and almost crawled to the end.

2016 will probably not be looked on fondly when people look back years from now. I can practically feel the echoing wave of collective sighs of relief when the clock ticks over around the world into the near year. To a lot of people, 2016 has felt like one long drawn out ending. We’re all holding our breath.

Good things happened; of course they always do. It can take longer to look for them sometimes. I feel like this year my photography finally took a step forward – it’s closer to where I want it to look, feel. I’m still not there (I’ll never feel quite “there”, I don’t even know where “there” is) but it definitely took a leap over the seemingly immovable static I had been feeling.

 

Osric Chau, Captain America, Vegas Cosplay Portrait, 2016

Osric Chau, Captain America, Vegas Cosplay Portrait, 2016

 

Rob Benedict, Viper Room LA, June 2016

Rob Benedict, Viper Room LA, June 2016

 

Billy Moran, Viper Room June 2016

Billy Moran, Viper Room June 2016

 

Matt Cohen, Phoenix 2016

Matt Cohen, Phoenix 2016

 

I was privileged to get to work with incredible people, to be supported by incredible people. I was able to push myself way out of my comfort zone and found I liked it; no, I loved it. Even when I hated it, even when I was scared of it, I loved it.

 

Briana Buckmaster, Seattle 2016

Briana Buckmaster, Seattle 2016

 

Matt Cohen and Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

Matt Cohen and Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

 

Makayla, September 2016

Makayla, September 2016

 

Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr, Seattle 2016

Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr, Seattle 2016

 

OsVan16-1676wm

Osric, Vancouver 2016

 

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Sunday, VanCon 2016

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Sunday, VanCon 2016

 

Kim Rhodes and Rob Benedict, PhxCon 2016

Kim Rhodes and Rob Benedict, PhxCon 2016

 

Angie and Brooke, October 2016

Angie and Brooke, October 2016

 

Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

 

Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles PhxCon 2016

Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles PhxCon 2016

 

Ruth Connell, SFCon 2016

Ruth Connell, SFCon 2016

 

Danielle, October 2016

Danielle, October 2016

 

2016 firmly cemented in my mind that portraiture is where my heart and soul is; it’s where I feel strongest, where I feel the most afraid, where I feel the most exhilarated. I was so, so fortunate I had such a wealth of amazing people that helped cement that for me.

 

Misha Collins, Vancouver 2016

Misha Collins, Vancouver 2016

 

Kat, LA 2016 Makeup by Vic Righthand

Kat, LA 2016
Makeup by Vic Righthand

 

Kim Rhodes, LA 2016 Makeup by Vic Righthand

Kim Rhodes, LA 2016
Makeup by Vic Righthand

 

Timothy Omundson, LA 2016

Timothy Omundson, LA 2016

 

Rob Benedict, LA 2016

Rob Benedict, LA 2016

 

But 2016 was an ending for me too. I don’t know what the future will bring, and it was an ending for me thinking that if I just sit back and be patient enough things will happen. I have to stop thinking that way. I need to become proactive and make things happen. Patience is a virtue, but so is passion and movement and action. If I really want this as much as I claim I do, I need to go out and get it.

I don’t know how.

I’m scared.

I will still tell myself I’m not good enough.

But I won’t listen anymore.

It’s now 2:22am, Saturday December 31, 2016. I’ll go to bed, wake up, and it will be the last day of this crazy, unrepeatable year.

Goodbye, 2016.

Hello, 2017. 

Werribee Open Range Zoo // August 2016

My sister and I took ourselves to Werribee on a beautiful Winter’s day to try the “off-road safari” at Werribee Open Range Zoo here in Victoria. I’d been to Werribee before, but I’d never gone on the safari.

 

CqEEM7iUEAAq0l_

 

We had a really great safari tour guide, Matthew, who told us about the shift in zoos and wildlife parks away from the traditional attraction sites of the past to a focus on conservation and education, and the animals we saw definitely seemed to benefit from it.

 

Werribee2016-9487wm

 

Werribee2016-9255wm

 

Werribee2016-9381wm

 

They are given strictly limited human contact (only what conditioning is needed to help keep them manageable and safe) and the environment and species social groups help them to maintain their natural behaviours. It was actually really moving to see how happy and settled they seemed, even when we were driving around near them.

 

Werribee2016-9358wm

 

Werribee2016-9440wm

 

Werribee2016-9471wm

 

The only part I was disappointed about was that after the tour, we went to see the Lion enclosure but it was largely blocked off. The big cats are my favourite to photograph, so it was hard to take photos that worked from such a distance. I managed to get a couple of photos, but I wasn’t as happy with them.

 

Werribee2016-9496wm

 

Werribee2016-9506wm

 

I’m not really sure what prompted me to try editing them in black and white, I think I just tried it with one of the giraffe photographs and liked how striking the effect was. I did edit a couple of photos in a sort of low contrast, semi-matte colour, boosting the levels of the blues and greens using saturation levels in Lightroom, then selective colour in Photoshop. I made sure whatever I was doing with the colour in Photoshop to keep watching that the whites stayed white, which is always a good guide to keep things looking realistic (unless unrealistic is what you’re going for).

 

Werribee2016-9374wm

 

Werribee2016-9584

 

Taking photos of wildlife is, obviously, a completely different skill set to taking convention photos or portraits, and so it’s nice to stretch yourself and do something different!

White and Gold and Black and Blue

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard about the internet kerfuffle about the colour of a certain dress.

Some saw a white/gold dress, others a black/blue dress. I personally saw white and gold, and it took a lot of manipulation in Lightroom to make me see black and blue. Some of my friends swore they saw it as black and blue. Whatever colours you see, it threw into light interesting concepts of colour and how everyone views colour in different ways. (In the end, I think almost everyone decided it was a pretty ugly dress whatever colour it was.)

But this isn’t a blog about the dress, I promise.

Someone asked me on tumblr not long ago why I had “colour theory” listed as an inspiration on my photography tumblr and what that meant. Today’s debate reminded me of that, and why colour is actually an important subject for artists – photographers especially – to study.

So what is colour theory?

Colour theory is basically a set of structures to measure the application of, and relationship between, colours. These theories have been built up over time since at least the 15th century, and have evolved using maths, physics and chemistry. Thankfully (for me!) the modern colour theories are a lot easier to grasp and revolve around some basic grounding ideas.

Colour Systems

There are two primary colour systems – methods by which colour is reproduced: additive and subtractive. Additive colour works with anything that emits or radiates light. Your computer monitor and other screens use the additive system and primary colours of Red, Green and Blue (RGB model). In this model, white is the combination of colours and black is the absence of colour. The Subtractive colour system works on the basis of reflected light and also has its own recognised primary colours – Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (CMY model). Unlike RGB, in this model black is the combination of colours and white is the absence of colour, however this system is imperfect. You may have heard of CMYK – this is because in the subtractive model a fourth pigment (called “Key”) is needed to actually create true black.

RGB vs CMYK by m-graphix.com

RGB vs CMYK by m-graphix.com

The Colour Wheel

Sir Issac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colours in 1666. Since then there have been many variations on the theme, but the basic plotting of colours on a wheel allows us to see the primary colours (Red, Blue and Yellow, colours that cannot be mixed or formed by any other combination of colours), secondary colours (formed by mixing the primary colours) and tertiary colours (made by mixing and primary and secondary colour eg. blue-green).

The Colour Wheel by Dr Gil Dekel

The Colour Wheel by Dr Gil Dekel

Colour Harmonies

Colour harmonies are the relationships between colours, and can be easily read using the colour wheel. Dr Gil Dekel on poeticmind.co.uk has made an excellent diagram showing the harmonies and how they can be read on the colour wheel.

Monochromes

Monochromes

Complementary

Complementary

Triads

Triads

Analogous

Analogous

Modern day software – like Adobe Kuler (now Adobe Colour) can develop thousands of these harmonies into pleasing visual palettes. It’s like going to a hardware store and picking different paint chips or swatches – some combinations will work better than others and that is ultimately down to their relative relationship on the colour wheel.

So why is colour theory important?

Colour theory is important in all facets of art and design, because of the effect that colours and their combinations can have on the viewer. Interior designers rely on colours and their combinations to create certain moods for certain rooms of a house – for example, a warm, earthy palette for a living room and a cooler, breezier colour scheme for a bathroom. Artists use colour theory to mix and create colours to suit their needs. Photographers can use colour theory to influence composition – utilising colour can make one subject stand out, can create tension within a frame or can be used to create overall harmony.

Even when I’m working with black and white, I will shoot in colour because the greater the scope of colour within an image, the greater the tonality will be in black and white. There will be a whole range of tones in between the black and the white, giving the image range and depth that it wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise. Colour is always a consideration.

It’s a powerful but often overlooked part of everyday life. The brilliant thing about colour is that while there are these foundational ideas that we talked about, the way we each perceive and respond to colour and colour combinations is intensely personal. Two people can see the same combination of colours, and yet have very different ideas about whether or not it is visually pleasing. It can affect our environment and mood; it dictates the way we dye our hair, the way we decorate our houses, even the kind of car we drive.

And, obviously, it can spark massive debates online over how we each see a dress.

Resources:

‘Basic Colour Theory’ http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory

‘Basic Colour Scheme’ http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-theory-intro.htm

‘How to Master Colour Theory’ http://www.creativebloq.com/colour/colour-theory-11121290

‘The Colour Wheel’ http://www.poeticmind.co.uk/research/the-colour-wheel/

‘The Photographer’s Master Guide To Colour’ by Jeff Wignall

‘Trading Spaces – RGB vs CMYK’ http://www.m-graphix.com/trading-spaces-rgb-vs-cmyk/

205-365

205/365

205/365

This is another edit of an old photo. I know that I have been relying on that a lot, which I feel bad about. But due to circumstances at home I had to cancel my trip to SDCC, so at the moment it’s hard to pick up my camera. But I will work through it.

This is actually musician Jason Manns during Roman Holiday this year. He was very serene when he was walking around, taking everything in. I felt intrusive taking his photo – it was his very “stillness” that made me want to photograph him. So it’s the constant push-pull about taking photos in these situations. I often wonder about photojournalists in dramatic situations and if they feel the need to step in rather than step back and take a photo.

The edit has his eyes shrouded, but the crane of his neck is relaxed, and I like the sharpness of his profile and the sharpness of the barely visible edge of the statue. I also like the analogous red colouring (different shades of red that would be alongside each other on a colour wheel) – his shirt, the wall, the worn parts of the stone.

(So I can’t take photos at the moment but I can certainly talk about them!)