Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Color and Perception

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! How’s everyone faring with this week’s exercise? I trust you’re seeing things take shape.

Today we’re going to take another look at metering. From previous posts, we know that we can control our exposure by increasing or decreasing our exposure time or aperture to achieve the levels we want. For instance, making a white cloud white, while retaining its texture, we’d meter the cloud and add 2 to 3 stops of exposure. If we add 2 stops, we can further close the distance between our vision and what we shot.

Today, we’re going to look at how color and saturation work with exposure to give us a better rendering of our vision. Generally, we perceive saturation different than reality. In the most general of terms, saturation appears more thorough in an image when we darken it by some small amount and increase our contrast.

The reality reason for the apparent change in saturation is the actual change in chrominance. Chrominance relates to the levels of luminance present in each particular color. For instance, taking an RGB value of r=100 and increasing it to r=200 increases the chrominance, without changing the saturation. We perceive a difference only because of the resulting change in luminance. This is an extremely basic and simplified explanation, but helps to understand what we’re discussing next.

By knowing what we just discussed, we can change the viewer’s perception of the saturation in our scene, and therefore the mood we’re trying to convey. Without knowing the above and the basics of color theory, it becomes difficult to use color in our compositions as a tool of our message or mood.

By increasing or decreasing our exposure for a certain color’s luminance to create the color we visualized, we can change our message, theme, or mood some. We also change our perception of a color’s saturation, giving either a rich look or a washed out appearance. Try taking some shots of a strong color in a scene at various exposures and comparing the results. For a more noticeable impact, you can try a brighter color in a darker environment or vice versa. As you range through several exposures, you begin to see how our key and our brightness change. You’ll also notice a change in feeling as you view your images.

By throwing a bit of the color and saturation into your metering, you’ll be better equipped for this week’s exercise. Changing your vantage will change the luminance available to you, and require ways to get around the change in feeling that comes with it. Keeping your vision in your mind as you change vantage points, and knowing that exposing for a particular color or set of colors, you can put your original intent across.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this week from everyone, and hope the rest of this week treats you well!

Don’t forget to post any of your images you’d like to see here at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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