TAOP: Assignment 3 – Colour: Colour Harmony – Complimentary Two – Seeing out the old

This is my fifth shot for assignment three – “colour” and the second shot for colour harmony through complimentary colours.

Seeing out the old

ISO100, f/8, 1/200s. Click to see large on Flickr

Shot in a light tent on manual with a flash to camera left with Pringles tube snoot.  A second flash was pointing at the side of the light tent to camera right.  See the original lighting setup (though the umbrella was removed and snoot lowered for this shot) in the ‘Taking the shot” section below.  I’ve boosted the black, contrast and sharpened in Lightroom.

This image comes from me searching for origami, under the mistaken impression it was Chinese.  It’s Japanese, of course, but actually has origins in Chinese paper folding.  Given it’s the Year of the Dragon I searched for Dragon origami and found a site with guides to the full Chinese Zodiac.  Last year was the Year of the Rabbit, so I thought I’d illustrate the Year of the Dragon seeing out the Year of the Rabbit.

Balance and Movement

I’ve gone for the complimentary colours yellow and violet – which face each other on the colour wheel – and used the harmonic ratio of 1:3.  I think this works well, with the two subjects relating well to each other within the image.

Balance and Movement

The movement here is created by the direction the rabbit is pointing in and the relationship between the two subjects.  Both in terms of the dragon’s head “looking” at the rabbit and because the bright yellow draws the eye naturally – so the eye travels back-and-forth from one to the other.

Taking the shot

First off, that dragon took me over an hour and a number of angrily screwed-up pieces of paper and shouting at YouTube videos that went too fast to be able to follow properly.  Eventually I found this one which made it quite simple to follow.  By contrast the rabbit was easy, and both attempts I made turned out fine (I practiced on different coloured paper so as not to waste the colours I needed to use).


Once I had the rabbit and dragon made I set up my light tent (mainly to hold the black background in place, as it’s velcro and I don’t have anything else available to hold it up right now).  The original setup is illustrated below (and was described above):

Original Setup

The light tent defused the light sufficiently itself, so the umbrella was extraneous.

First rejected shot

Reject one. Click to see large on Flickr.

This was the shot taken initially.  I didn’t like the position of the rabbit – it didn’t strike me as an interesting arrangement and there didn’t seem to be much relationship between the subjects.  I didn’t feel it conveyed the idea of the rabbit going away or the dragon’s dominance.  The yellow also stood out too much as it’s larger here than in the final image.

Second rejected shot

With Umbrella. Click to see large on Flickr.

I re-arranged the rabbit – placing a glass behind the black cloth, and the rabbit on that cloth, pointing the rabbit toward the back.  I was happy with this arrangement and posted the shot on Flickr.  However, feedback from a photographer friend pointed out the umbrella was probably blocking about half-a-stop of light.  I had actually increased the ‘exposure’ in Lightroom by just slightly more than that in this shot – so I decided to try without the umbrella (which I had only really left attached to my flash stand through laziness and a sense of ‘it won’t really matter’).  The feedback was pretty much spot-on and I didn’t need to make any adjustment to exposure in Lightroom for the final image, so another lesson learnt.

I had realised after the feedback was given that I should try it as saying “it won’t make a difference” without proving it wouldn’t have been good enough – especially as I’ve already had criticism of stating something as ‘fact’ in assignment two, without proving it by experiment.

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