Colours don’t actually exist, they are purely the way we experience the different wavelengths of light which enter our eyes hitting an array of photoreceptors on the retina, our brains then interpret the resulting stimuli, producing an experience we call “colour”.
We see colour therefore everywhere, but because it is so ubiquitous we usually just take it for granted, paying it little attention, but it actually has a huge effect on our emotions and psychological state.
We find blues soothing, yellows stimulating, greens balanced and harmonious, where as reds are aggressive and have even more visual impact due to their short wavelength, making them appear nearer than they really are.
Colours can be strong and bold, or subtle and washed-out, they can be contrasted against each other, used in harmony, or balanced against each other.
We’ll take a wander around the Lietzenburger See in Charlottenburg, and see what nature has to offer us in terms of colour this spring.
- Complementary = Strong visual contrast
- Analogous = Harmonious
- Triadic = Vibrant
- Split complimentary = Strong visual contrast, but less tension
- Tetradic = Rich
- Square = Best if only on colour dominates
Colour theory is a science and far too detailed to go into here, so this is just for basic knowledge.
Some examples illustrating the technique
Tips for when on location
- When the subject is a contrasting colour to the background, the composition has what is known as strong “figure to ground”.
- To create a warm, energetic mood use reds, oranges and yellows.
- To create a cool, relaxed mood use blues, turquoise and greens.
© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2017