The Colours of Twilight

Though this picture, Down the Lake, represents a lake at twilight, it looks more or less abstract to me. Abstract photography or painting is based on colour palette and/or composition and the viewer has more freedom as far as the interpretation is concerned.

Twilight is the moment between sunset and night. It is divided into different phases according to science data, but for the photographer, the most striking  characteristics of this time of the day are its unusual colours.

At sunset, the sky becomes darker and darker as the sun is going down little by little on the horizon. The sky is orange and red, the typical hues of sunset pictures.

Then orange colour still lingers on the horizon line for a time, but the sky is no longer red. Twilight colours are now displayed. The sky may be an intense blue and the sun illuminates the sky from below the horizon. The sky may have several bands of colours : purple, blue, remains of orange, and pink. This strange pink colour is always on the east, that’s to say, opposite the setting sun (on the west). This phenomenon appears only when the weather is fine.

Twilight is a magical hour, a fleeting moment to capture right away. Hesitate, run to fetch your camera and it may be too late.

Down the Lake


Harmony in Three Colours

Mysterious Folds

Some colours may be harmonious when they are displayed together and some may not. The human eye can perceive harmony or disharmony right away as it is a natural instinctive response. We don’t have to think about it to judge it. I haven’t researched on the origin of this response but, even if it is cultural, it has been so conditioned that it has become natural.
It seems that harmony is related to the notion of order and disharmony to disorder. So colours that are harmonious must belong to a scheme. And if they are too different from a scheme, they would be seen as disharmonious.

Continue reading Harmony in Three Colours

The Colours of Light

At the beginning, there was light. And black and white photography has emphasized the lines born out of light, the shapes emerging from darkness. Or is it darkness which carves the world out of light? We no longer know. They are the basic complementary building blocks of our perception, so intertwined that we cannot think about one without the other. The shadows and the highlights, the blacks and the whites, and all the palette of grays.
In black and white photography we grope our way in a world of forms, textures, matters. The world is well grounded, things are in order.

light-experimentThen, by a twist of the elements a new energy pours into these forms, and a new dimension arises : colours. They lay there, in the tiny display of the visible light for the human eye in the whole known electromagnetic spectrum – that’s to say, the fragmentation of light into wave lengths. We see these visible wave lengths as colours, and this small band is represented by the rainbow. But there are more than meet the eye. Invisible wave lengths flood the world of their invisible lights, and colours maybe. But the human eye seems not to perceive them and our brain is unable to decipher their presence. What we see is not the whole picture. There are also the infrareds, the micro waves, the radio waves, the ultraviolets, the X rays and the gamma rays, as far as we know.

RainbowAll the coloured beams light all the things around us. But for us, each object has a distinctive colour. If an object is red, for example, it is because red light is rejected, so to speak, from the surface of this object and the other colours are absorbed by it. We can only see refracted colours. How are the real surface of things? What are their intrinsic colour, if any? We can’t know, because we can’t see in the dark. And your camera can’t either. As a matter of fact, cameras don’t record colours. They record light and shadows. Colour photography needs devices to interpret shades of gray and match these shades with the corresponding colours. But it is a translation, an interpretation. That’s why colour hues, in photography, are so characteristic of an era, because techniques and inventions had to include this particular process of interpreting colours, and this interpretation has evolved over time.

Light and colours are not separate entities. They are one and the same. The way we see the world around us is the result of a network of interactions involving sunlight, matters and the way their surface deals with light, and more significantly, our eyes and our brain.

Lady Autumn

At this time of the year leaves are undergoing a metamorphosis and green slowly turns into warm colours. But what you may not know is that Nature is like a lady taking off her clothes for the evening show. Colours don’t change.

leaves logThe pigment responsible for the green colour fades away as the amount of light decreases. This process reveals the underlying colours, yellow and orange shades, which have always been there.
Then when only half of the green pigments still lingers, the leaves add red and purple shades to their beauty. This is the last dance before dying and the decay process.

Leaves basketAt this stage brown shades are more prevalent, because they are the colours of the walls in the leaves, and slowly show through when pigments wash away.
As cold settles in the country and as days shorten, cold colours of summer change into warm colours to bring that cosy feeling we like so much. A last touch of warmth before the next season.

Late Autumn