Friday, August 9, 2013

Warm/Cold Color Contrast

Assignment #13:  Take a photo that features a compelling contrast between two predominant colors - one warm and one cold.

This assignment was "Complementary Colors" when I first added it to my list - that's a popular technique in a lot of how-to discourses.  I found it odd, though, that some folks listed complementary pairs in terms of paint colors - blue/orange, red/green, and yellow/purple - while others used the color wheel for light - blue/yellow, red/cyan, and green/magenta.  So who's right?  Could it somehow be both?  Are there really just three color pairs that one should watch for?

I couldn't answer those questions until I read a few paragraphs by Anne McKinnell suggesting that the most compelling color pairs contrast a warm color (like red or yellow) with a cold one (like blue or green).  I like that idea.  It makes more sense than blindly following a color wheel and allows for the possibility that different shades of a color can have different temperatures.

Anne suggests using lots of one color with a splash of the other.  I think she'd agree that that's not a hard and fast rule.  I have also found that a certain amount of neutral colors in a photo doesn't necessarily interfere with the effectiveness of the contrast.

In the sky over the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater in Fishers, Indiana

Nearly empty stands at Victory Field, Indianapolis, Indiana

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