Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blue with yellow

click photo to enlarge
I've been thinking for a while of extending my series of still life flower photographs by using a couple of our "blue and white ware" vases. These aren't, I hasten to say, the classical Chinese pottery, but nineteenth or twentieth century copies, unmarked, probably made in Britain, but possibly imported from a Far Eastern manufactory.

When you decide to use a basically blue vase, the question arises of what colour flowers to place in it. The complementary of blue is orange, but that pairing always seems a touch lurid to me, unless the shades are carefully selected. I do like to see dark blue with a rich cream, though if it veers towards the white it tends to look a bit nautical. Dusky pink can look well with dark blue, and some greens please me when paired with it too, though I recognise that's not a combination that appeals to everyone. In the end I went for yellow, mainly because the Heliopsis in the garden are producing blooms in abundance, but also because it makes a good pairing with blue.

On this occasion I decided go for an all white background, but try as I might, I couldn't produce anything that I liked. The arrangement seemed washed out, with no "bite". I added a red/pink carnation or two thinking to give it a lift, but it just looked gaudy. So, I went back to my tried and tested black background and it all came together immediately. The outlines of the vases were just as clear as with a white background, but, more imporantly, the patterns in the white of the vases stood out: against the white background they had been outshone. The yellow of the flowers was also richer against black, and the green looked lighter. So here it is. I've lost count of how many of these I've done now, but, if you like this sort of thing, I can say I think I've got a couple more of them in me. If you're not keen on them - ah, well!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/5
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On