The color wheel is one of the primary tools of anyone who works with graphics. It shows us which colors oppose or complement each other. Most of us know it instinctively, but a reminder can be useful.
Contrast generally means the mixing of colors that oppose each other on the color wheel. Of course they don’t have to directly oppose each other. While blue opposes orange, it contrasts just fine with yellow. Green versus red — Christmas colors — are so popular we probably don’t even think of them as contrasting.
This presented a particular challenge for me since I favor a monochrome palette, in my life and in my photography. I like gradations of color more than I like contrast, saving contrast for spot color.
The ultimate contrast is, of course, black and white, white being “all colors” and black being the absence of color. When we talk casually of contrast, we are really referring to any two colors, one light, one dark — a variation on a theme of black and white.
If there is one season we have more than enough of here in New England, it’s winter. It depends on the year, of course, Not all winters are created equal. Usually, we are buried under ice and snow from late November to early April. But there are exceptions.
Every once in a while, we have a mild winter. We had one a few winters ago where there was nothing more than a dusting of snow for the winter … and then we had a drought in the spring because there was no melt-off to fill the rivers, aquifers, and lakes. Still, I was personally grateful for the break.
Last year was horrendous. It was not the coldest winter I can remember, nor the snowiest, but it had the most ice. And bitter weather when you most needed a thaw to reduce the weight of snow on roofs, to make roads and walkways passable.
Fortunately, spring was not accompanied, as it often is, by torrential rains so we avoided the annual flooding of everyone’s basement in all the valley’s towns.
Yet winter is magnificent. When that first layer of white comes down from the skies and wraps the world in its soft blanket, it’s hard not to hear music and poetry in your head. If only it weren’t so bitter … or last so long.
How about we strike a deal? One month of winter … say January? Start right after the New Year then melt in time for Valentine’s Day. That would be more than sufficient.
As a photographer, white, of all the colors gives me the hardest time. So of course, I spend a lot of time and effort trying to get good pictures of white things.
Flowers, much of the time. But other things too. Pottery. Clouds. Steeples of churches in New England. The foam on water and boats in the harbor. And of course — snow. Lots of snow.
I haven’t gotten it quite right yet, but I’m getting there.
We went down to the dam in the middle of Uxbridge today. It was relatively warm and there’s a lot of melting going on. Still, it’s supposed to snow tonight. Not a lot of snow. A mere couple of inches, but with temperatures dropping, it’s likely to stick. Maybe this will be winter’s last gasp — or blast.
In Hadley, Massachusetts, they really love their shacks.