Finding Character In Contrast

March 31st, 2011 by Mike Moats

One important element that I look for when out walking with my camera is contrasting colors, shades, shapes, and sizes. Interesting variations within subjects play an important part in creating images with character.

This is an agave plant that I found at a botanical garden. You may have seen the work of photographers who have converted a color image into a black and white image and then added a small splash of color in order to create a contrast that pops. This plant reminds me of those images, but this plant’s outer leaves were naturally black and white with the green leaves underneath providing a contrast with character.

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If you were intending to find contrast in nature, this would not be a subject you would select.Although it has a nice soft feel and a good flow of lines, it does not have the pop that the element of contrasting colors would provide.

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Here is a pair of Cottonwood leaves with a nice interplay created by the contrast of the two different sizes, almost like a small child hiding behind the larger mother.The early morning sun backlights the pair creating a nice shadow on the front leaf. The two leaves were hanging downward on the tree out in the field, and I flipped them 180 degrees during post-processing for an effective and pleasing composition. Contrasting sizes often provide an effective way to add character to an image.

You can visit Mike’s blog and learn about his workshops here:  Tiny Landscapes

Mike’s eBooks are available in the OPG store here:  Mike Moats

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