Emotional, psychological and temperature are all meaningful and measurable aspects of colour. Colour is often thought of as either vibrant or dull, strong or weak, warm or cold and so on. As photographers it’s something we work with on a daily basis. Colour can be something of a challenge to control because it’s as transient as light itself.
It is useful to understand that colour is a property not only of material things but also of the light that actually hits them and bounces back into our eyes and camera lens. We see colour by means of light itself, whether it is from a natural light source i.e. the sun or the light is from a manmade source like a household light bulb. We only have to take a look at the rainbow which separates all the colours we normally see mixed together as white light from the sun.
Changing light and being able to use it, is something that us photographers are confronted with daily. Colour is only constant under constant light but when we are outside the light is continually changing. And almost like magic when working outdoors, by simply changing your angles you can shoot directly into the light as opposed to with it which will change light into dark and change white into black. Landscape photographers see the ever changing face of the landscape in ever changing light. Clouds can form and cast vast areas into almost darkness while sun can be bursting through clouds creating shafts of light. We work in an environment where two minutes can make a scene look entirely different and two days are never the same.
For the majority of us photographers we shoot everything in colour. We all strive for nice pleasing tones and images without colour casts. It was not that long ago that photography was transformed with the arrival of the digital era. Cast your mind back to the first DSLR’s and remember the colour casts we had to deal with back then. Like everything in the modern age, the advancements are constant and we often wonder where it will all end. How many pixels are going to be enough? Do we need Wi-Fi on a camera? And what is 4K video? Only recently Canon announced two new cameras, the EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R, each with 50.2-megapixel sensors. Of course it comes at a price; one I fear many will not entertain.
So colour is the everyday normal for most of us and it is something that we all take for granted. Pause for a moment and consider one scenario….if colour disappeared, what would we be left with? A world in mono, all those shades of grey – all 50 of them!