On Utilizing Color Contrast To Your Advantage

On Utilizing Color Contrast To Your Advantage

By |2012-05-02T11:46:22+00:00May 2nd, 2012|

Going on my solo hike around Buntzen Lake in BC, Canada was one of the major highlights of my trip. Being alone with your camera and your thoughts should never be underrated or underestimated.

The nice thing about going on a hike in as picturesque of a scene as this one is that there will never be a shortage of pathway shots. The key is to take the shot so that it actually makes sense to the viewer (and to you! ). As you can see, it can be very easy to overwhelm your viewer with a crazy amount of visual stimulants here. It’s your job as the photographer to define what the viewer should focus on. When processing this image, I tried to summon a lot of the conversations that my friend, +Jay Patel, and I recently had about utilizing different types of contrasts effectively as a service to your image and to the viewer.

In this shot, I intentionally dimmed the glowing green of the mossy trees and brought out more of the cooler tones of the gravel pathway. I feel that this helps give the viewer’s eyes a defined path to take, albeit a short one. I chose this particular path because I was fond of the way it curved into the madness of the forest, so to speak.

Effective use of color contrast is just one method to create visual logic for your viewer – the key is to be cognizant of what you are trying to achieve when you’re in the field and behind the computer display.

In terms of processing
I did a very slight tone-map process on this shot to wrangle in the highlights beyond the trees and to bring out some of the shadows in the thick forest. Stylization was minimal – I selectively applied a Deep Forest Glow on the foreground trees to accentuate the moss. I also burned most of the image and dodged the path using masking brushes in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.1RC2.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. Michael D. Krochter May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Not far from my place…I used to take my sons and their scout troop there. A lot of people get lost up there. Nice shot…hope you enjoyed your visit here. Next time let me know and I'll gladly show you around the valley.

  2. Brian Matiash May 2, 2012 at 10:02 am - Reply

    +Michael D. Krochter A very kind offer and one that I promise to take you up on when I make it back there!

  3. Rob Sylvan May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Looks like a scene from the TV show Grimm. I want to hear what it sounds like in that photo!

  4. Maria Turner May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am - Reply

    love the woods, the smells, and the sounds.

  5. Jay Patel May 2, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    PERFECT example!! Love the processing and composition of the shot.

  6. Allison Knights May 2, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Great photo. Captures the feeling of the area so well and I can almost smell the fresh forest air. Buntzen Lake is home to my favourite warm weather dog park, but now your photo makes me want to explore the trails more.

  7. Brian Matiash May 2, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Thanks, +Jay Patel! I was really curious to know your thoughts on it. Like I told +Varina Patel, I can't wait for the kids to grow up so you guys can move here.

  8. Peter McClelland May 2, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Brian, I'm really lik'n your inspiration approach and thoughts about capture/processing. A short path but it keeps my eye in the image, allowing my mind to wander the sights & sounds not in the image.

  9. Brad Sloan May 2, 2012 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Nice job bringing the eyes down to the path.

  10. Nicole S. Young May 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I LOVE this image, Brian :) So mysterious, and the subtle rim-light on the branches is divine.

  11. Pamela May 3, 2012 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Am fairly new to your site but I must say that you’ve inspired so much. Your shots challenge me to see things in a different.

  12. Pamela May 3, 2012 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Am fairly new to your site but I must say that you’ve inspired so much. I love your work

  13. Michael Riffle May 3, 2012 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Dreamy, like you I love a good "path shot." Your mindfulness of possible distractions and choices in processing really help you pull off a nice one here.

  14. Oliver Fluck May 4, 2012 at 7:44 am - Reply

    What happened? I only remember you doing (amazing) urban photography.

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