Colour photo essay, part 1

Glass and wire sculpture

I have just finished a course in travel and landscape photography with Rob Stimpson at Haliburton School of the Arts, Fleming College. It brought home some lessons that should punch my photography to another level.

Every day Rob gave us assignments to bring back to the class for critique. Over the next few weeks I’ll post some highlights from these photo essays.

Viper's bugloss

My first task on Monday afternoon was to photograph colour. Being a colour junkie, I was all over that one, and ended up drawing in more images over the course of the week for my final essay. I’ve actually added a few more here and split it into two parts.

Faded chrysanthemums

The property at Haliburton College is fascinating, with plenty of visual interest. The school itself is a spectacular piece of recent architecture. Just the front door attracted most of us to photograph it over the course of the week.

Haliburton School of the Arts front door

Some old log buildings house some kind of a museum, which I did not have time to investigate. There is also a long sculpture trail. The top photo is a closeup of a giant red high-healed shoe made of wire and glass beads.

This final photo was taken at another sculpture, a series of totems made of old cedar poles and rusted tools. This is the blade of a saw.

Saw blade

I had to retake this shot to get it right, because not all of the saw’s surface was in sharp focus the first time. I shot it again using a little more depth of field and making sure to have the camera parallel to the surface.

For this image I used another lesson learned by experiment. I under-exposed the image by about two stops then bumped it up in post-production. This cut down glare on the metal and saturated the colours nicely. This seems to be useful when shooting dark colours in flat light or deep shade. I used it for another favourite photo, which I’ll post in part 2 next week.

Incidentally, the college offers a wide range of week-long and weekend art courses during the summer. This week just a few of the courses going on are encaustic painting, quilts with colour (real colour!), business for artists, stone carving, various courses in painting and drawing and kids’ courses. The fees are quite reasonable and the location (the heart of Ontario’s cottage country) provides endless opportunity for great learning vacations.

Danny’s spinning certificate program courses have taken place here every August for the past five years, but during that week there are no other courses for me to take. Now that he has almost finished (he starts the final year this summer) we have in mind making more future return visits together.

7 thoughts on “Colour photo essay, part 1

  1. Very nice! I have yet olde digital, but have had some luck. I’d love, love, love love to see what more I could do. I think just some basic skills could make a big difference. Looking forward to the next essay!

    1. Just spending a week with other photographers and receiving constructive critiques was a great part of the benefit. I recommend a continuing ed course through a college, though doing it in cottage country was way more fun!

    1. Thanks, Toni. And thanks for the photographic inspiration from your travels and excursions.

      The teacher had visited Antarctica and showed some slides. Wow, what a trip that would be!

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