Assignment five: Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative

I have moved on fairly rapidly to this final assignment in the TAOP course after completing assignment four however I have been giving the content considerable thought for some time. I had a short trip planned to Porto in Portugal and had the idea that this would provide a good setting for this assignment. I wanted to ensure I was incorporating many of the exercises and skills I’ve learnt from The Art of Photography course so far. I have therefore tried to show framing, elements of design, use of colour and lighting techniques.

I came back from Portugal with over 200 images that I have now shortlisted for this assignment. I had travelled to Porto previously but always on business trips and this was my first visit as a ‘tourist’. Also with an open eye and mindful of taking photos for this assignment I probably discovered more of the city than I would normally have. For most of the time I used my Nikon D600 with a 50 mm prime lens. This allowed me to cover a lot of ground as Porto is a great walking city. I also used a 16-35mm wide angle lens on a number of occasions.

Cover Page

The Ponte da Arrábida built in 1963 in cast concrete, is the most downstream bridge across the Douro River. At the time of construction it was the largest concrete span of any bridge in the world (615m).


Ponte Dona Maria, is a railway bridge built in 1877 by Gustave Eiffel. At that time its span of 160m was the longest arch bridge in the world. The bridge was opened by the King of Portugal and named after his Queen Maria Pia.


The view from Gaia over to the district of Ribeira in Porto is one of the most picturesque spots in the city and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1996.


São Bento Railway Station contains around 20,000 magnificent tiles alluding to the history of transport and Portugal which cover most of the atrium. They’re the work of artist Jorge Colaço and date from 1916.


Casa da Música was built to mark 2001, the year in which Porto was Cultural Capital of Europe and is the only dedicated building to music in Portugal. It is a popular spot for skateboarders due to the marble banks designed surrounding the building.


The Serralves Museum  is a world-class museum displaying cutting-edge international contemporary art in a striking minimalist building by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira. The eighteen hectares of grounds are dotted with modern sculptures including a gigantic shovel by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen as seen in the cover image above.


A visit to Porto would not be complete without a tour of a Port wine house. W & J Graham’s was founded in Oporto, in 1820 by the two brothers William and John Graham. 


At night the Porto skyline comes alive with views from Casa Ribiera over the Douros to Vila Nova de Gaia. The signs of the port wine house light up as the sunsets to produce a magical skyline and the best view in this city.


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Tutor Report on Assignment 5:

Overall Comments: Well done for completing your final assignment, Graeme. You have worked through the course at a great pace. As this last assignment has appeared only days after the last one I don’t imagine that you have had time to build on your learning logs and to address points raised. I would therefore urge you to continue to work on your research before submitting for formal assessment.

Elements to consider with your assignments:

For this assignment you need to choose an appropriate subject matter in keeping with one of the three given headings of ‘A Commodity’, ‘Light’ or ‘Holidays’ or a suitable alternative theme. Content images needed to be chosen for their ability to work together to strengthen the narrative, while the cover picture should give the audience an understanding of what to expect from the story.

You have been given unlimited scope to be creative here and have the added benefit of being able to add text to strengthen the reading and interpretation of the images. Strong creative examples could show interesting ideas, unusual situations or the evidence of something happening. Cover illustrations should give a sense of narrative with and without the use of text.

Your assignment in connection with the above points:

For this assignment you have chosen to produce a travel style document on ‘Porto’ showing what the area has to offer the tourist. You have been thorough with this covering much of the architecture and points of interest. Images have all been taken well and show a good level of engagement with techniques learned over the course.

The title of this assignment is ‘illustration and design’ and with this in mind I would like you to take this work a stage further and really design a book style document rather than the scroll down pictures and text currently appearing on the blog. Think about how the pictures are going to work together on each page, make small sketches perhaps, and show how your accompanying text is going to appear on the page. Working through this process and planning the task appropriately may result in you shortening the wording on occasion or altering the size of the picture. You may find that you re-arrange the order of images and think a little more thematically about the content of each page.

You have a fair number of images here across the set (eg three night scenes of the area) and there is a danger of this book becoming the ramblings of a tourist rather than a structured document. You may need to take a couple of images out to strengthen the work.

Cover Page:

This first picture is quirky and fun and the text gives explanation on what will follow. You have shown good use of technique here giving nice clear detail of your subject against a bright blue sky background.


I particularly like your ‘mini-theme’ here with the wine. The three images work very well together sequentially to build narrative and the inclusion of a human element really helps us to identify with the subject. The smooth transition that you have achieved here, with each picture leading neatly on to the next, is what I would really like to see across the body of work.

Summary/ Pointers for next assignment:

More work needed here on illustration and design of your story. Think, build, re-position until you have achieved a lovely strong book feel to the work.

Learning logs/critical essays:

You haven’t had time to add work to your learning logs since sending me Assignment Four and the images are still not appearing correctly. I would like to see you add more personal reflection to your research explaining how you feel about what you are looking at and how this might impact your own work. Research on Picasso and on ‘The 7th Street…’ for instance, includes a sentence that suggests that you are engaging with the work that you are looking at on a more personal level. I would like to see you do more of this. Other ‘reflection’ can on occasion read a bit like the blurb on the back of a book.

Other: Well done for completing the assignments and I wish you all the best with your studies.

Updated Assignment 5 in Book Format: Assignment 5 ‘Book’


My thoughts and reflections:

My original plan was to create a book format for this assignment however the power unit went on my iMac which meant I was without my desktop for 2 weeks. I have now reworked the assignment post feedback (and a new power unit) which is available from the PDF link above. This is a much improved presentation format for this illustration and narrative. I was pleased to be able to incorporate some of the elements of the course into these images and feel I am now reflective about each photograph I take with additional consideration to the various elements of design etc. I am excited and enthusiastic about moving forward with the next module and have decided to commence with the Digital Photographic Practice as soon as possible.


Project: Illustration

Exercise: Evidence of action

Produce one photograph in which it can be seen that something has happened. Include in the photograph something that has been broken perhaps.


This image could be construed to be caused to be natures wind damage. However it is man-made by the local landowner managing the trees surrounding his land. Very clearly a deliberate action and one that also shows the concept of broken.

Exercise: Juxtaposition

For this exercise we have to choose either a still-life approach or a larger scale shot, which involves choosing a viewpoint and lens focal point to suggest a relationship. If the latter, photograph someone with a possession, or the results of their work or hobby.


Exercise: Rain

Imaging a magazine cover on one subject rain. Produce a single, strong, attractive photograph that leaves no one in doubt about the subject. An exercise in imagination and should be kept simple, attractive and interesting.


Project: Narrative

Exercise: A narrative picture essay

 This project requires an assignment to be created and photographed which tells a story or narrative in a series of pictures between 5 and 15. Whilst in Morocco I recalled this was an upcoming exercise and decided to take a series of photographs at the Leather Tannery in Fez.

This ancient tannery in the depths of the Medina in Fez is the oldest tannery in the world and dates back at least nine centuries. When approaching the tannery the smell is the first indication that something unusual is about to appear! The smell drifts around the balcony from where all the action can be viewed. The foul smell is worth braving as the view over the balcony allows you to see a site that has not changed since the 11th century.


View of Leather Tannery in Fez from Viewing Balcony

The tannery is composed of numerous stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and various odorous liquids. The tannery processes the hides of sheep and goats, turning them into high quality leather products such as bags, slippers and other similar products. This is all achieved manually, without the need for modern machinery.




The tannery workers at the stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and liquids

The hides are first soaked in diluted acidic pigeon excrement and then transferred to other vessels containing vegetable dyes such as henna, saffron and mint.

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The hides are dried on the roofs of the Medina


The finished leather goods on sale in the Fez Medina

Assignment four: Applying lighting techniques

For this assignment it is required to draw together the different lighting techniques studied  and apply them to one object. The idea is to use new knowledge of lighting to bring out particular physical properties of the same subject.

“Choose any object you can move around and take a selection of photographs of it, each in a different kind of lighting. You can use any light at all, from daylight to available artificial light, to photographic lighting.” I had a number of ideas for the subject to use and after a number of test runs decided to use a ceramic sculpture of a blue hare which has unusual textures and subtle colours which I hoped would be accentuated with various lighting techniques.

Shape: This quality has to do with the outline of an object – it’s edges. These are more likely to stand out more clearly if they contrast with the background, and if there is minimum detail visible in the object.

_GWD5270 1/25 sec @ f11.0_GWD52721/25 sec @ f11.0

Both photographs were taken indoors on a bright day with the backdrop of a closed window-blind to diffuse the light. This had the effect of making the window a type of large soft-box. I orientated the hare in two different positions to accentuate the different shapes demonstrated.

Form: This is another way to describe the volume of an object – how 3 dimensional it looks. The modelling effect of the light and the way you deal with the shadows is all important. Try to show as much depth as possible.

_GWD52911/2 sec @ f16.0

To demonstrate the 3D effect of the sculpture I used tungsten downlighting in a dark environment to create shadows and depth against a background of a canvas photograph.

Texture: This is the quality of the surface detail. Fine detail, such as sandstone and skin, stands out best with a pattern of small, hard shadows, so you will have to consider both the diffusion (or lack of it) and the angle of light.

_GWD52941/2 sec @ f16.0

_GWD52791/60 sec @ f22.0

I used two different kinds of lighting here with the top one utilising tungsten downlighting and the bottom photo direct flash lighting.

Colour: Choose a kind of lighting and exposure setting that shows the subject’s colour (or colours) as strongly as possible. In addition, you could photograph your subject in any other interesting, unusual or attractive lighting.

_GWD52801/30 sec @ f16.0_GWD52831/50 sec @ f1.8

These two examples shows the effect different lighting has on the colours of an object. The top image is photographed in natural sunlight against a green grass background and produces a mauve tint to the sculpture.

The second lower image is photographed with a direct spotlight and highlights the bright blues of the sculpture.

This assignment has been the most challenging so far for me. Perhaps due to the fact that I was lacking certain lighting accessories and that there were many lengthy exercises. However it has been very interesting and I have learn a lot on how different lighting techniques can alter the appearance of an object or scene which will be very useful in future photographic assignments.

Tutor report on Assignment 4:

Overall Comments

Thank you for completing another assignment for feedback, Graeme. I am pleased to see that you have taken note of comments made with the last assignment and I feel sure that will continue to work hard up to the point of submitting your work.

Assessment potential 

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Elements to consider with your assignments:

This assignment asks you to draw together the different lighting techniques that you have been studying and apply them to one object. The idea is to use your new knowledge of lighting to bring our particular physical properties of the same object. It is also a test of your observation.

Your assignment in connection with the above points:

You have used a sculpture of a hare as subject matter for this assignment. This has worked well for you on a technical level, allowing you to move around with ease and to experiment with different lighting effects.


Backlighting has been used very effectively here to demonstrate shape. The blinds have helped you to create a source of diffused light from the window – as you point out, forming a natural soft box. Positioning your subject in front of this has resulted in a silhouetted outline which shows the shape very clearly.


You have worked very well with angles of view here alongside your lighting techniques and by doing so managed to achieve the desired aim or including 3-D detail of your subject. The backdrop landscape adds a nice touch of this, building on the apparent 3-d effect and adding a sense of humour to the result.


Texture detail is really starting to appear in these examples. You could also work with sharp angles – shooting from and also from a strong direct source of light to accentuate shadows and define texture. You have some nice strong colour coming through here too.


The vivid green grass has absorbed some of the colour in the first image. A more neutral background would have helped draw us to the more subtle colours of your statue. The second example, with a strong direct light source, works much better and we can also see some nice texture detail in this picture.

Summary/ Pointers for next assignment

You have worked well with the task given here, but could have taken this stage a step further, trying out some more interesting lighting setups and being a little more experimental. The last assignment asks you to work in a thematic way and to incorporate narrative. This is your opportunity to really show what you are capable of with your photography. Plan your theme carefully and choose your final images based on their ability to work together to tell the story effectively.

Learning logs/critical essays

You do need to build substantially on the research side of your work before submitting for assignment as your learning logs are looking quite sparse. Images aren’t always appearing as they should so this is also something to address.

My thoughts and reflections: 

I am generally happy with the feedback in this report as this was the most challenging assignment yet. I have very limited experience in using additional external lighting and in fact have no additional lighting equipment apart from a built in flash and hence felt restricted in what I could achieve.  I will address any images that are not appearing and continue to expand my research work.

Project Available light

Exercise: Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

The first part of this exercise was in a room with a tungsten lamp lighting the scene through a window out to the garden. I waited until the light levels indoors and outdoors were about equal and then took three photos, in the first with the white balance set to auto, the second with it set to daylight and the third where it was set to incandescent. The settings for each photo were f4.0 @ 1/6 sec, 200 ISO.

_GWD5209 Auto WB

_GWD5210 Daylight WB

_GWD5211 Incandescent WB

From these photos, it’s clear that using the incandescent white balance has produced a much more natural image than the other two, which appear to be too orange. The daylight white balance image produces an oppressive orange colour whereas the auto white balance setting is more acceptable. What is very clear is the blue glow from the window with the incandescent image.

For the second part of this exercise I don’t have a fluorescent light at home and will complete once I have a setting with one available.

Exercise: Outdoors at night

Project The time of day

Exercise: Light through the day

As the sun moves through the sky, it creates new possibilities for photography. Sunrise, early morning, mid morning, midday, afternoon, late afternoon and sunset all have a special character in their light.

This exercise involves choosing a clear sunny day and photographing a single scene from dawn to dusk. I chose a landscape location from my garden of a clear view of a former church – now an antique emporium. I set the tripod up early in the morning and selected the fixed view for the rest of the day. i simply had to adjust the exposure as time progressed and take the photo as close as possible on an hourly basis. Fortunately for late February we were experiencing a high pressure system and I could ‘guarantee’ uninterrupted sunlit cloudless skies for the whole day! Sunrise on this day was 07.15 and sunset was 17.45.

_DSC2303 07.42 (1/30 @f11.0)

_DSC230407.57 (1/60 @f11.0)_DSC230508.34 (1/125 @f11.0)_DSC230609.32 (1/250 @f11.0)_DSC230710.37 (1/250 @f11.0)_DSC230811.47 (1/350 @f11.0)_DSC230912.41 (1/350 @f11.0)_DSC231013.38 (1/350 @f11.0)_DSC231114.34 (1/250 @f11.0)_DSC231215.38 (1/250 @f11.0)_DSC231316.40 (1/125 @f11.0)_DSC232917.09 (1/60 @f11.0)

I had expected the best results to be around the early morning and late afternoon as this is the time of day that I would choose to take landscape photographs. The view looked due north which meant the sun would rise on the right of the view travel behind me during the day and set approximately to my left. Which image do I prefer – in this case the 16.40 which has enough colour in the trees to give some interest.

Exercise: Variety with a low sun

This was an exercise to demonstrate some of the advantages of shooting when the sun is low in the sky. I shot the photos below 1 1/2 hours before sunset on a March day hence the sun was pretty low in the sky.

_GWD4878 frontal lighting

With the sun behind the camera this produced a likeable effect (particularly as the camera was looking towards the blue sky).

_GWD4879 side lighting

Certainly quite a different effect with the colour of the elephant very different in this shot with the sun coming from the left.

_GWD4880 back lighting

Agin a very different shot and not an angle I would normally take shooting into the sun.

_GWD4882edge lighting

Not certain this is edge lighting but I quite like the effect this produced which accentuated the colour and texture of the wood in the elephant.

_GWD4894 twilight

Exercise: Cloudy weather and rain

First part: Sunlight and Cloud

Second part: Overcast




The three images above taken in overcast light allow the details in the granite and the wood to come through showing the speckles in the stone and the grain in the wood. In a stronger sunlit light these may have become lost in the strong shadows and contrast.

Third part: Rain


As it suggests in the coursework “a rainbow is a special bonus”. This was appeared just at the right time. A perfect example of why photography should not stop just because it rains.

Project The colour of light

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 1

In most photography there is no need to be exact about colour temperature; it is enough to know when the light is not white, if only by a little, or by a lot.  For this exercise a subject was chosen that can be moved around and is not of a strong colour, also a clear sunny day was required.  Three photographs were taken, one in full sun during the middle of the day, one with the subject in the shade and a third when the sun is close to the horizon. The camera’s white balance must be set to ‘daylight’ not ‘automatic’.

I chose my dog for this as he is fairly moveable (too moveable in fact) and because he is a consistent ‘blonde’ colour like a skin tone.


      sunlight during the middle of the day


        shade during the middle of the day


         sun on the horizon during sunset

Interesting results with the midday sun image providing the closest to the true colour. The shaded image is bluer and cold whereas the sunset image provides a more natural orange tint to the coat.

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 2

For this exercise the same time of day was utilised except in this case the white balance was varied in each case to ‘sunlight’, ‘shade’ and ‘Auto’.


          midday sunlight  / WB: sunlight


               midday sunlight / WB: shade


                  midday sunlight / WB: Auto

The sunlight and auto WB settings gave a truer colour than the shade setting. The shade WB setting produced an orange tint to the dog and the grass. I would be happy to use either sunlight and auto in this midday sun setting.


               midday shade / WB: sunlight


              midday shade / WB: shade


            midday shade / WB: Auto

In the midday shade I saw very different results. The WB sunlight produced a bluer colder colour and the shade and auto setting produced the truer colours with the shade being my preference.


             setting sun / WB: sunlight


               setting sun / WB: shade


                setting sun / WB: Auto

Less of a difference between these three images. The sunlight and the auto WB probably give the closest to the true colours whilst the shade WB gave a more intense orange tint to the coat.

Conclusion: I’ve  learned that there is a marked range in the colour temperature depending at what time of day the photograph is taken. As these exercises were completed in late February at a fairly northern latitude the midday sun was consequently low in the sky. The auto WB does a reasonably good job of compensating for the different light settings – which is what I normally have used in the past for most photographs.


This shows the variation in colour temperatures from 2,000 K at early sunrise through 5,000 K at noon up to 8,000 K with an overcast daylight sky.

Project The intensity of light

Exercise: Measuring exposure

This exercise consists of two parts. The first part is to produce photos which are either over – or underexposed and to explain why.  Adjusting the compensation bracketing can lighten or darken an image to achieve something more acceptable to the eye. The second part is to take 5 – 6 pictures of any subject and each one with 5 different exposure values (increasing and decreasing by 0.5 stops arranged around the best exposure).

Part one, a deliberately lighter or darker than average image:


Nikon D90 at 105mm, ISO 200, 1/30 sec at f5.3

This first picture was taken at +2 stops (overexposed). If I had taken it at the best exposure as measured by the meter the colours and textures of the bird feeder would have been too dark and it would have been impossible to determine colour on the bird itself.


Nikon D90 at 60mm, ISO 200, 1/1500 sec at f4.8

In this exposure I wanted to silhouette the foreground and bring out the colours and depth of the late afternoon winter sky. A ‘normal’ metered exposure would have blown out the sky and hence a -1.5 stop (underexposed) image.

Part Two: photographs taken around the best ‘measured’ exposure: left to right -1.0, -0.5, 0, +0.5, +1.0


Nikon D90 at 400mm, ISO 800, 1/350, 1/250, 1/180, 1/125, 1/90 sec at f5.6

My preference is the +0.5 exposure (enlarged) for the truer colour tones of the grasses.


Nikon D90 at 48mm, ISO 800, 1/3000, 1/1500, 1/1000, 1/750, 1/500 sec at f4.5

My preferred exposure is the -0.5 (enlarged) which represents a truer colour and texture of the stone.

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Nikon D90 at 40mm, ISO 400, 1/400, 1/300, 1/200, 1/100, 1/75 sec at f4.5

A difficult exposure to get right due to the constant grey colour and relatively dark exposure, however my preferred exposure is the +0.5 (enlarged) which shows a sharper and truer colour of the wing mirror.


Nikon D90 at 62mm, ISO 800, 1/2000, 1/1500, 1/750, 1/500, 1/350 sec at f4.5

The first two underexposed images are too dark and create a slight silhouette effect which I did not want. My optimal exposure is the +0.5 (enlarged) which shows a truer colour of the sky and foreground as well as the buildings.

_DSC2195 _DSC2196 _DSC2197


Nikon D90 at 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1000, 1/750, 1/500, 1/350, 1/250 sec at f4.0

In this case I have 2 images that would be acceptable, the +0.5 (enlarged) as well as the ‘correct’ exposure per the camera meter.

All in all an interesting exercise which does prove the need to take a series of different exposures of the same picture (bracketing). I have always been aware of the need to do this but in realty have rarely used this technique. This is now something I will consider more carefully in the future.

Exercise: Higher and lower sensitivity

The first part of this exercise requires similar shots to be taken at ‘normal’ and ‘high’ sensitivity. The situation chosen should be marginal; that is, where the mixture of light level and subject movement or depth of field is only just possible. The first shot is taken at normal sensitivity (ISO 100 or 200) and the second taken at a higher sensitivity (ISO 800 or 1600).


ISO 100 @ 0.5 sec f19.0      ISO 800 @ 1/15 sec f19.0

Both images taken indoors without flash. The first one at ISO 100 was too slow for a hand-held image and hence considerable blur. The second at ISO 800 produced a faster and more acceptable shutter speed and a sharper image.


ISO 100 @ 0.5 sec f19.0      ISO 800 @ 1/10 sec f19.0

An exaggerated effect of this evening sunset taken at ISO 100 and 800. Clearly the first image produced too slow a shutter speed however the second was more acceptable at the higher sensitivity level.


_DSC2264 _DSC2265 _DSC2268

  ISO 200 @ 1/20 f19.0        ISO 400 @ 1/45 f19.0        ISO 800 @ 1/125 f19.0         






ISO 1000 @ 1/180 f19.0

A series of images taken at increasing sensitivity at a small aperture to give a larger depth of field. In order to ‘freeze’ the movement of the car across the frame it was the higher ISO 1000 image that achieved a fast enough shutter speed.


Assignment three: Colour

‘The Colours of Morocco’

This assignment demonstrates a command of colour in photography, being able to find and use different colours in deliberate relationships.

Four photographs within each category were taken which illustrate the following colour relationships:

  • colour harmony through complementary colours
  • colour harmony through similar colours
  • colour contrast though contrasting colours
  • colour accent using any of the above

I had originally tried to complete this assignment here at home in Scotland. As it was the start of the winter months very few colours seemed to be available to me and I was spending more and more time on the assignment and finding it hard to complete. I had a holiday to Morocco fast approaching and thought I should try to complete the photo assignment during my time there. It was certainly a colourful country and although I didn’t have as much time to spend on each subject I am happy with the selection below.

Colour harmony through complementary colours:


Nikon D90 at 95mm, ISO 200, 1/160 sec at f5.3

Although this image is dominated by the red chillies I thought the colour provided by the green stems provided sufficient contrast to demonstrate the harmony between red and green but on reflection the green could have a higher ratio.


Nikon D90 at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec at f14.0

This is one of my favourite images of the Sahara desert and demonstrates well the simplicity of two contrasting natural colours of blue and orange working well in harmony.


Nikon D90 at 48mm, ISO 200, 1/160 sec at f4.5

I was visiting a traditional pharmacy and spotted these colourful jars of powders and the yellow and violet were conveniently placed together for this photo.


Nikon D90 at 18mm, ISO 200, 1/2500 sec at f4.0

A prefect colour harmony with the natural colour of the blue sky in contrast to the ancient orange stonework of the Aït Benhaddou Ksar.

Colour harmony through similar colours:


Nikon D90 at 44mm, ISO 200, 1/10 sec at f5.6

I used in-camera filters to create this image of the blue and violets of a Saharan Desert sunset.


Nikon D90 at 105mm, ISO 200, 1/60 sec at f5.3

I spotted this colourful tablecloth in a cafe and liked the vertical harmony created through the red and violets.


Nikon D90 at 22mm, ISO 200, 1/640 sec at f3.8

The Medersa Ben Youssef is a former Koranic School in Marrakech which demonstrated the harmony of the yellows and oranges in this ancient building.


Nikon D90 at 44mm, ISO 200, 1/10 sec at f5.6

The reds and oranges were reflected in the setting sun on the golden sands of the Sahara Desert in this late afternoon scene.

Colour contrast though contrasting colours:


Nikon D90 at 34mm, ISO 200, 1/25 sec at f5.0

Whilst walking through the medina in Fez there were many stalls with colourful fruit and vegetables on display. The greens and violets of the olives were in a huge basket and although very different offered a pleasing colour contrast to the eye.


Nikon D90 at 13mm, ISO 200, 1/25 sec at f11.0

I liked the natural contrast of the orange and green of this image of the Dadès Gorges valley which lies between the High Atlas and Lower Atlas mountains.


Nikon D90 at 60mm, ISO 200, 1/320 sec at f4.8

A simple but effective image of oranges with the green leaves exemplifies the colour harmony of these two contrasting colours.


Nikon D90 at 24mm, ISO 200, 1/60 sec at f3.8

Although very different colours the baskets of violet and orange work well in contrast to each other.

Colour accent using any of the above:


Nikon D90 at 90mm, ISO 200, 1/250 sec at f5.3

I created this ‘still life’ by placing the red flower on the green palm leave to create this colour accent. I also positioned the folds of the palm leaf to create a diagonal across the image.


Nikon D90 at 95mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec at f5.3

The red flower creates a perfect colour accent against the backdrop of its bright green leaves.


Nikon D90 at 56mm, ISO 200, 1/400 sec at f5.0

The fishing port at Essaouira on the Morocoon Atlantic coast was a hive of activity and I selected this fisherman in his yellow jacket against the backdrop of blue boats as a perfect colour accent.


Nikon D90 at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/80 sec at f5.6

This final image of a colour accent from the Sahara of the camel herder in his blue djellaba pulling an unwilling camel for an early morning ride against the backdrop of the orange desert sand.

This was another interesting project assignment which made me consider and look at colours in a different light. I had never considered the colour circle previously and this has helped consider how colours and matched and work in harmony together. As well as design elements I will now be considering how colours are work together and their ratios and relationships with each other.

Tutor Report on Assignment 3:

Course/Module Art of Photography/1 Assignment number 3: Colour Relationships

Overall Comments:

Well done for completing another assignment for feedback, Graeme. You are working at a steady pace. 

Elements to consider with your assignments:

The colour assignment asks you to take photographs to demonstrate the various relationships between colours and including colour contrast, harmony through similar colours, complementary colours and colour accents.

Your assignment in connection with the above points:

You have used a trip to Morocco as a basis for your colour relationship images. This has given you a nice rich variety of subject matter and some lovely vibrant colours to work with. The market pictures have been particularly useful in this respect and have allowed you frame your images to exclude unhelpful colour elements across the frame. On occasion I would have liked to see stronger awareness of the design elements from assignment two incorporated into this project. Particularly on some of the landscape images there is something of a lack of purpose which could have been addressed.

Complementary Colours:

You have demonstrated a strong awareness of the use of complementary colours within the four compositions chosen for this task. The red and green chillies picture is particularly effective with the subject matter nice and sharp and filling the frame appropriately. The blue sky and ancient orange stonework picture doesn’t work quite as well. The stonework is leaning towards red/ pink which spoils the complementary nature.

Colour Harmony

You have come up with some nice strong examples of colour harmony. Finding examples around you in items such as the tablecloth or the building, show that you are gaining a feel for how colour relationships are used and appear in the world around us. The use of the built-in camera filter was also very effective in producing your harmony picture. Although I appreciate that you were working in the desert here, do watch your design elements with these landscapes to see if there is opportunity to add a point of interest across the frame.

Colour Contrast:

The various market offerings have proved to be strong examples of colour contrast and the images work well.  I particularly like the olive image which has a pattern feel to it, and links back nicely to the previous unit work.

Colour Accent:

You have a really good awareness of how to work effectively with colour accent in your images. The fisherman and camel herder pictures work very well as examples of this with the bright colours of their clothing standing out nicely against the more uniform colours of their surroundings. The palm leaf and red flower image is particularly pleasing, as you have thought about this very carefully, and created your own example, thinking about incorporating design elements into your result.


You have worked on location for this assignment, with your main focus on found subject matter. This can be a more complicated way of achieving your results, as you need to move around more and stay very aware of your surroundings. Designing your own examples is another approach to this task, and it is good to see you also include an image of your own creation, within the set.  This assignment has given you the opportunity to think about the complexities of working with colour and you will now be able to take this information and apply it to previous lessons learned.

Learning logs/critical essays:

You need to build on the research side of your work before submitting for assignment. Include visual examples of practitioners work and talk about how you relate to these images yourself and the impact they will have on your own practice.

My thoughts and reflections:

 I can see that I should have been more aware of the design elements throughout and tried to incorporate these into my assignment. I probably was too restricted and focussed on the colours. On reflection I will start to consider the different aspects of the course as I progress with each assignment. Again I need to expand my research and will continue to work on this. All in all I am happy with the way the course is progressing and feel the feedback I am receiving is good.


Certainly with the desert landscapes I should have tried to introduce a design element to enhance the purpose of the image. In summary I am very happy with the feedback on this colour assignment. It was a gamble to try to complete it whilst on holiday but in the end it was a perfect opportunity to find an abundance of colours not available to me at the time.

Project Colour relationships

Exercise: Colour relationships

Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawing #1136 2004 (National Galleries of Scotland and Tate)

This exercise is divided into two parts.The first is to produce 3 photographs with a combination of primary and secondary colours, adjusting the distance, focal length or framing so that the picture is composed to the proportions listed below:

  • Red: Green                         1:1
  • Orange: Blue                       1:2
  • Yellow: Violet                       1:3

Red: Green (1:1)

Cropped from Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawing #1136 2004

When I saw this artists wall drawing at the Modern Art Gallery in Edinburgh I thought it was perfect for this exercise. I severely cropped the image to the proportions required and in this instance took the photo with my iPhone rather than my normal Nikon SLR.

Orange: Blue (1:2)


I was fortunate to spend a night in the Sahara desert on a holiday to Morocco recently. I found this natural orange : blue ratio was well represented by the  intense colour of the sand in this part of the world. Perhaps the blue is not such a true blue but al least it was as nature required.

Yellow: Violet (1:3)


I found this ratio of colours the hardest to find and this is the nearest I came when I saw these jars of powders in a Moroccan pharmacy.

The second part requires 3-4 images featuring colour combinations that appeal to me. They can be two or more colour combinations with the objective to show that there is no single “correctness” to complementary colours.


The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is the world’s 2nd largest mosque and the similar green and blue colours displayed against the pale blue sky compliment each other well.


These bright complimentary reds and orange in the basket of olives in the Casablanca Medina display the classic primary colour combination.


I like these subtle colour combinations in the basket displayed at a pharmacy. The brighter but subdues reds/orange are contrasted well against the free/blues of the stones.


The Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah at Ouarzazate in Morocco has dramatic walls of red earth and stands out against the blue sky with the accent of the green palm.


I liked the subtlety of the pale green against the orange red walls of this building in Marrakech in Morocco.