#Good Challenge: Rainbow

Not one single colour, but seven different hues combined: in this week’s challenge, we focus on photographing rainbows, exploring how to capture, produce, and experiment with the deconstruction of light.


When seen in the sky, rainbows seem to have an almost supernatural charm. People never seem to get tired of admiring them. Rainbows are atmospheric phenomena that can be observed when sunlight passes through the water droplets left in suspension after a thunderstorm, or near a waterfall or fountain.


"Rainbow" by Jakub Soltysiak


Isaac Newton was the first to realise that the light we see as white is actually made up of coloured rays with different refraction angles. In the late 17th century he demonstrated how, using a triangular prism, the white light of the sun could be broken down into the colours of the spectrum. Originally, Newton distinguished only five primary colours: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. He later added orange and indigo, as he believed the number of colours should match the number of notes on the musical scale.


"Mystery Image" by Ann Wheatley


ROYGBIV is the acronym used to describe the sequence of colour in the rainbow. The sequence is traditionally a symbol of peace, unity, and happiness, adopted in recent years by the LGBT movement to spread a message of inclusivity. According to psychologists, rainbow hues are typically associated with creative practice, positivity, and joy.


"Rainbow Tower" by Heather Maree Owens



So, how can you capture a natural rainbow? Rainbows are not as rare as we tend to think, but they do appear only in specific conditions. They generally come to life after a thunderstorm, as the clouds have drifted away allowing the sun to peep in.


"Patagonian Rainbow" by Maria Ligaya Photography



A tripod is not indispensable, but you may need it if the light at the scene is very low. Find a position from which you have a clear view of the landscape and mount a wide-angle lens to include the whole arch in your shot. To get a clean image use low ISO - 100 to 400 is an optimal range. A great idea is to underexpose your photo by 1 stop, in order to increase the rainbow’s saturation.


If Mother Nature does not cooperate, you can create your own rainbow. Since a rainbow is just the right combination of sunlight and water in the air, you can generate your own with a water sprayer on a sunny day. Turn your back to the sun and spray water in the air in front of you. If you are lucky, you should see a rainbow materialize.


Share your photographs of rainbow colours this week - click on Submit in the Menu above and select "Challenges"

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