Just give it five minutes. One of my favorite things in the world is finding a scene I like then waiting for the light to shift as I sit watching. Like a painting being made right before my eyes. Layer upon layer being mixed. Titanium white, burnt sienna, yellow oxide, quinacridon crimson, ultramarine blue. Mixed and swirled and spread and thinned and then carefully placed on the canvas in front.
Good light that is. I look for good light at all times, even when I’m not shooting. It’s a life-habit and one I don’t think I’ll ever be able to break. I might be talking to you, face-to-face even, but most likely I’m talking to you AND I’m looking for light. On my bike, the same. Driving, the same. Sitting in airports while looking for places I could make a picture, places with just the right light.
These might look the same but they are not. Gradients people, gradients. Slight changes in hue that make all the difference. Blood orange begins to take shape. Cadmium orange, lemon yellow, vermillion red, red ochre. Blended, swirled, spread and carefully placed on the canvas.
And now the drama lands in full. Blood inside our bodies is blue, but it turns red when exposed to oxygen. Both deoxygenated (venous) blood and fully oxygenated (arterial) blood are red and the kind of red that is unforgettable. Alizarin crimson, burnt umber, pthalo green. Mixed and swirled and applied to a moving canvas.
And then comes the cold. Gone is the drama and flair of the first and second act and in is the demise of the protagonist. Phthalo Blue, Prussian Blue, Cerulean blue, Manganese Blue, Winsor Blue or any other slight variation to temperament. A dash of dioxazine violet perhaps. Tinged along the edges of the cold. The curtain falls and the crowds begin to disperse. Black brings its own drama but there is a wait for cold black, Italian black Roman earth black, chromatic black, perylene black, or just Scheveningen intense black. No matter. The real black of black lives out there beyond the pale, just waiting for us.