In high school and college I studied black and white photography (neither school had a color photography lab then). However, color photography has always excited me more. We see color for a reason, it tells us things we need to know. Vibrant colors are very excitatory, especially red. Softer, more pastel tones seem to elicit a more soothing, calming response.

In my home growing up, I was surrounded by the watercolor and pastel paintings of my mother and do feel that it influenced my tastes in art generally. While I respond as many people do to saturated tones, especially when combined in complimentary ways, I still enjoy the lighter, more airy tones that are often associated with spring.

Ultimately, colors are used by artists to elicit all kinds of moods and feelings. Understanding how colors cause different responses in people is necessary in order to more fully convey your own feelings about a scene.

In the image below, I worked with a Canon 100mm f2.8L macro lens at its largest aperture for limited depth-of-field asserting a softness that I feel is appropriate for delicate subjects. Making the image handheld allows me to make very minute changes depth-of-field and composition and then respond immediately to what I see.

(c) 2011 Paul Grecian -



4 thoughts on “Pastels

  1. Curious that you do hand-held for macro (or at least this image) to respond immediately. We never discussed that I recall, but I wouldn’t peg most of your images as a “respond immediately.” Or I’ll phrase that differently, you may respond immediately, but would then proceed a bit more methodically to capture what you reacted to.

  2. Marty – interesting question. For this style of macro work i almost always work handheld (my shutter speeds allow it). When I am drawn to a subject like this flower, I can visualize certain aspects of the image I want to make. Typically I am looking for a colorful background or one with interesting highlights. But until I explore the subject with the camera to my eye, I am not fully sure what the final image will be. It is easier for me to do that kind of exploration without a tripod so that I can react to even small changes in composition as I move around the subject.


  3. and it took a mutation to bring us color vision, lost to the early nocturnal mammals. Thank God for imperfections. See you at the North Penn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s