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TAOP: Assignment 3 – Colour: Colour Harmony – Complimentary One – Oranges in Water

Shot three for assignment three – ‘colour’ and my first shot for colour harmony through complimentary colours.

Oranges in Water

ISO100, f/5.6, 1/1000s. Click for large version on Flickr.

Shot on manual with flash to camera-right (see setup stop below in ‘Taking the Shot’).  Cropped in Lightroom, then I’ve modified exposure, contrast, clarity and sharpness to bring out more detail in the splash.

This shot is inspired by a Chinese New Year tradition in Singapore and Malaysia, where an equivalent to Valentines Day takes place on the last day.  Women seeking a partner will write their number on the skin of a mandarin orange and throw it in a river or a lake.  Single men would then collect the oranges and eat them.  The taste is an indication of the fate of their love – sweet being good, sour being bad.

Balance of Movement

Balance and Movement

In terms of balance, the proportion of orange to blue is roughly in line with the ‘balanced proportion’ of 1:2.  I do think the oranges would stand out better against a darker blue and that might create a more pleasing image.  I had considered adjusting the hue of the blue in Lightroom, but chose to stick with it ‘as it appeared’ as I’ve already made adjustments in previous ‘found  shots’ and wanted to go for something more natural in a staged shot.

In terms of movement; there is movement in several different directions.  The plashed water scatters in multiple directions – creating a direction of motion themselves while also implying the direction of the orange being dropped into the water.  In addition, the ripple to the left of the left orange actually makes it appear as though that orange is travelling toward the splash, although in reality these ripples are radiating from the orange.

Taking the Shot

The final shot was taken by dropping an orange into a bath of water, stained blue by blue food colouring.  I used one flash to the right of the camera shooting through an umbrella to soften the light – without that there would have been bright highlights which would look awful.  This was the lighting setup:

Lighting Setup

A rejected shot

Splash down! A rejected shot. Click for large version on Flickr.

My first attempt was made using my bathroom sink and a studio light to camera-right.  I rejected this shot because the plug of the sink was very apparent.  While the final shot is clearly ‘staged’ the plug made it look like it was ‘staged badly’, though I do prefer the angle of the shot.  I may look at how I could get an alternative version – and a friend has suggested using a glass bowl with white paper behind it.  This would eliminate the plug and also allow me to light the oranges from below too.  I couldn’t do anything more with the angle of shot, or by putting more water in, as the edge of the bowl was in the way, and the overflow was just above the level of the water here.

Another issue with this shot is that the slow studio light has resulted in some motion blur – hence switching to a flash gun.  There are also some droplets of water on the front of the lens too, from my previous attempts to get the shot.

Additional Thoughts

This image has inspired the idea of a series of images basically ‘following the orange’ through the different stages and through the different types of colour combinations required for the assignment.  Essentially a narrative within the narrative.

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