Monday, March 3, 2014

Affected by Turner's yellows

I was back in Kobe, my hometown, for a while on some family business. During my stay there, I had a chance to go to see the Turner exhibition titled "Turner from the Tate: the Making of a Master" at Kobe City Museum with my sister.  This exhibition was in Tokyo last fall but I missed it because I couldn't afford time to see it.

It is not too much to say that J.M.W. Turner is one of the Western painters Japanese people love the most and his past exhibitions have always attracted a lot of viewers.  As for this exhibition, about 300,000 people went to see it in Tokyo and it is attracting a lot more in Kobe. I think it was a nice exhibition and I was so glad to be able to see his "Regulus" in person.

Turner is well-known for having used yellow pigments a lot in his water and oil colors. I was really fascinated by his beautiful colors, especially how well his yellows worked in his works. While looking at them, I was thinking of how to get a similar wonderful effect of yellow in photos, though I know that Turner illustrated light and shade, hues, and atmosphere with complex technique.

Conscious of Turner's yellows, I did a little experiment. These two photos (below) were taken in Kobe after I saw the Turner paintings. I changed my camera's White Balance to yellowish by biasing it on the in-camera chart. Hmm. I have to admit that I'm a person who is easily affected by people and things I admire.

The photo above was taken with one of the normal color settings. 

It has been getting a bit warmer since I came back home from Kobe but it is still quite cold. However, some pretty flowers are now in bloom in my town, braving the cold. It is so true that "Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men". 

ume blossoms ↑↓

Kawazu-zakura, a type of sakura (cherry blossoms) ↓


Rubye Jack said...

Beautiful photos Sapphire!
I was not familiar with Turner before so I looked him up at the Tate and am not surprised the Japanese really like him. It has always seemed to me that Japanese art is more about nature and the smallness of humans within nature and so Turner's work is also.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Turner is wonderful!

YONKS said...

You have captured the essence of Turner. Beautiful!

sharon said...

oh !the golden color..i am sad I wont see the blossoms....but i have been to washington dc and your trees were given to us so I have had that experience

sharon said...

How clever you are..I am going to try changing white balance too

Linda Starr said...

Your two photos turned out wonderfully with the addition of the yellow, amazing. I too am affected by people and places that surround me, sometimes too much so but nevertheless that is the way it is.

you-wee because said...

Thanks a lot for your yellowish photographs of Kobe, Turner-san (formerly known as Sapphire)... ;-)

But I was more impressed about your photographs of the spring blossoms (now back with the right colour settings). Are your cherries already flourishing - is sakura already on its way? Or are some of your blossoms from the ume tree in your first two blossom photos?
I really like your sentence "Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men". Generally speaking that's true. But this winter / spring season in Germany it's vice versa. We felt the spring time and its warmer temperatures already in early February. But our blossoms and flowers in Germany were not able to blossom out so early in winter.
But in the meanwhile nature really has started its colourful performance!

Anne said...

Sapphire, congratulations ! Your two first photos are in the spirit of Turner's paintings. Your interpretation is a very beautiful homage. Turner said that sometimes, in Venice, he was living a week without opening the shutters voluntary and, when he went outside, he was exalted by the sunlight and tried to translate this feeling in his paintings.
Spring is coming. What a beautiful season ! Enjoy it!

☆sapphire said...


Thanks for your comment. "It has always seemed to me that Japanese art is more about nature and the smallness of humans within nature" You are so right! About the smallness of humans, I think it comes from the facts that there have always been lots and lots of awful natural disasters in Japan.

Laoch of Chicago,

Yes. his works are really amazing!


Thank you for your kind words!!


Thank you for your comments I think you would find it interesting to take pictures with different white balance hues. I sometimes take several pictures of the same place, changing white balance. It is fun!!


Thank you for your kind words!!

Suze said...

Harumi, I love the statement that spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men on so many levels. It is just a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for me, this year.

The images of the blossoms that you have included in this post have filled my heart. I thought for sure you were going to include an image of the river and bridge without the yellow bias for comparison!

☆sapphire said...


Thank you for your comment. You are so right! The first and the second are ume blossoms. They are now in full bloom here and there. The last is a type of sakura called "Kawazu-zakura" which is an early bloomer. The Kawazu-zakura are also in full bloom now. Because of the heavy snow this winter, I've found a lot of broken branches of ume trees.
You are so lucky that you had little snow during this winter.


Thank you for your kind words. There were quite a few paintings with water and oil colors about Venice. Its shimmering light and its ethereal beauty really fascinated me. His Canal Grande and the light in the works were so magical and beautiful! "when he went outside, he was exalted by the sunlight and tried to translate this feeling in his paintings" I love how he translated that feeling in his great works!!


Thank you for reading this post. Glad to know that you liked the flowers. I've added a photo with one of the normal color settings. I don't think the image is bad. I just did a little experiment and tried to create Turner-like colors in my photos with the yellow bias. I think white balance is important when you want to express your mood and feelings.

Sarah Laurence said...

How lucky to have such an early spring - those blossoms helped brighten my snowy day. I hadn't realized Turner was so popular in Japan but I can see the appeal of his landscapes. That's really fascinating how changing the white balance makes midday photos look like sunset and his work. Wonderful post!

zoe said...

wow! this is fantastic, to go out immediately and act upon something you have noticed and appreciated in another's work! i hope to always be like that, to really take things in...and i love the photos!
it is so wonderful to see the flowers in bloom, beautiful post!

Brigitta Huegel said...

Dear Sapphire,
thank you for your lovely spring photos! Here the plum is still not in blossom - but crocusses appear, so we have early spring. The experiment with 'Turner's yellow' is interesting! Maybe I will be able to play with my new camera Lumix GM1 too - as soon as I have worked through the heavy book I bought to understand it. Ah - and a very good Leica Macro. The Lumix is a wonderwork of photo technic - and absolutely light, so I can carry it around everywhere.
" I have to admit that I'm a person who is easily affected by people and things I admire." - you speak out of my heart, Sapphire! I wish you less stress, and a beautiful spring. Britta

☆sapphire said...


Thank you! I'm not sure if these photos with the yellow bias are good ones but I'm sure the experiment helped me find out what types of colors I could get with different white balance settings.


Thank you so much for your comments! As for the snow and chocolate post, females get chocolate from males in return on March 14, so-called White Day. I think it is a funny and a little bit annoying(for some women) tradition.


WOW! You've got a new camera!! What exciting news! The Lumix GM1 is very popular with females in Japan because of the same reason as yours: The GM1 feels light and sturdy, and the compact 12-32mm makes it a go-anywhere. And its lenses!! You can use Leica!! I'm very much looking forward to your new photos you are going to take with the new one. To be honest, I really want to buy a new camera, but my old Olympus looks still strong and sturdy.
Thank you for your comment!!

cosmos said...


stardust said...

なるほど、ターナーっぽい写真に仕上げるには黄色が鍵なんですね。カラーコントロールで表現豊かになり、見慣れた海岸通りからの景色も新鮮です。旧居留地も楽しまれましたか? 私はバレンタインの大雪以来超多忙で気がつけば庭の梅は満開になっていました。サファイアさんの花の写真、光とぼけ具合が絶妙です。写真も加齢も陽を受けながらいい具合のぼけがいいですね。


☆sapphire said...





Magia da Inês said...

Suas fotos estão linda!!!!

°º。♪♫Bom fim de semana!°。♪♬
Beijinhos✿♫° ·.

N Buckles said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with copying what inspires you. Now that I have read your post I need to go see Tate's painting. I wonder if I will be inspired as much as you have.

Mrs Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

I too love the way Turner was able to capture light on a canvas and his yellows are beautifully golden. Your photos are lovely! And I also really love the way that you photograph blossoms and trees.