Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mixing color temperatures

One of my favorite color palettes to work with is achieved by mixing color temperatures. I had just finished reading the book pictured below when I decided to give it a new life in a series of abstract photos of just the edges of the pages as they flipped by. The pages of the book were pure white. The cool blue and warm yellow colors were created by mixing daylight and tungsten.

The color temperature of normal daylight is around 5000-5500 degrees Kelvin, while that of a studio tungsten lamp is 3200. In a shadowed area of daylight, which is where the book was when I photographed it, the daylight temperature can go even higher and cooler than 7000 degrees. The discrepancy between the two extremes is what cause the color differences.

As color temperature increases, it tends towards blue and is considered cool. As it decreases, it tends towards a yellow-orange and is warm.  In the photos below the shadows of the book were in shadowed daylight and a tungsten lamp was placed behind it.  This caused the shadows to go a cool blue and the highlights to go a warm yellow-orange. To enhance the color differences I moved the images into the LAB color space in Photoshop. Because LAB has a broader color space than RGB it brought out the intensity of the colors even further.

I kept the lens aperture wide open at f/2.8 to achieve the shallow depth of field that accentuates the abstraction. All photos were taken with a Nikon D5200 and 40mm macro lens.

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