Complementary Colours

Different colours produce different emotional responses in a person. Red and orange evoke feelings of enthusiasm, warmth and power. Blue creates a sense of peace, calm and coolness.

Underwater we have the primary colour of blue, which surrounds us on a tropical dive.

Blue is a colour that signifies the sky, the sea and much more. It represents the world around us from space to the deepest ocean. Physiologists suggest that it is tranquil, self-assured and reliable. It conveys stability, truth, authority and loyalty.

I have yet to meet a diver who is not drawn to the colour blue. Comments abound regarding the colour of the sea. The intense blue!

We associate blue with the colour of the sky and fine weather.

Blue is one of the primary colours and on a standard colour wheel its opposite numbers are yellow and orange.

fig. 7.20 Sylvia composed this blue sea squirts against the mid water background with her Fuji fine pix F4C compact at its widest zoom of 8 mm. Notice how the orange tips contrast so well with the blue sea.

fig. 7.21 The arrangement of the basic colour wheel illustrates relationships between the complementary colour pairs. These pairs are directly opposite to each other. Red is opposite to cyan, green is opposite to magenta and, perhaps most importantly for the underwater photographer, blue is opposite to and complements yellow.

Underwater, the combinations of these colours work dynamically together.

You will see excellent underwater images of yellow schooling fish against an intense blue water background. In my own photography I am constantly looking to exploit this combination. When I see a yellow or orange subject, I immediately consider how to combine it with a blue water background.

Red stands out from all the rest. Go into a newsagent, stand 3 m from the stands and lookat the magazines. Which colours doyou see? You will find it is the reds.

The word 'red'conjures up images of passion, sex, danger and anger.

Red is the colour of blood, roses and fast cars.

Red is also an excellent colour to combine with blue, and you will see many vibrant photos from the Red Sea in particular where the clear blue sea is mixed with a splash of red from the vibrant soft corals.

The balance of a composition is more of a feeling than anything else. In my early days, balance in my own work was more 'after the fact' — I only looked for balance after I had taken the shot and viewed the results on a light box. Now I ask myself, before pressing the shutter:

'Does this picture look good? Is it balanced?'

With the wonders of digital review, I can check for a sense of balance within an instant of pressing the shutter, but think to consider composition before you press. Look through the viewfinder to see what is included in the frame. Notice the direction and manner in which your eye travels across the frame as

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