Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #44: Harmony

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.~William Wordsworth

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #44, Tina has inspired us to explore the impact of color in photography.  Like many of us, I think I know when a photo looks “right” and is pleasing to the eye, but in fact, color theory is a science.

It uses a wheel to represent all the colors we can see and divides them into warm tones and cool tones.  Opposite colors in the wheel are complementary, harmonious.  Color combinations that seem “off” or jarring to us most likely break these rules.

For my post this week, I selected photos with warm tones, cool tones, and a combination of complementary tones.  I’d love to know which shots are harmonious to your eye and which ones aren’t.


Warm Color Harmony

I spotted these succulent plants on our trip to Australia.  I love the delicious shades of red and pink.

These votive shrines appear on dozens of street corners in Florence.  The warm earth tones of the stone and walls are very appealing to my eye.

Cool Color Harmony

Jumping now to the other side of the color wheel, here are some cool tones.  These stunning Eryngos plants (Sea Holly) were a visual delight when I first saw them in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.  I love how the bluish, purple and green tones create a sense of visual harmony.

Split Complementary Harmony

These next shots combine warm and cool tones.  This first shot of a jade plant from the Royal Tasmanian Gardens has some cool colors–green, teal, and some warm–pink, red.  These colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and seem complementary to me.

Flowering Jade, Botanic Gardens, Hobart Tasmania

This shot along the Great Ocean Road is a mixture of warm and cool tones.  The warm tones of the cliffs on the right contrast with the cool ocean and sky tones on the left.

Great Ocean Road, Long View.

My first foray into the science of color and harmony has given me a better sense of why some shots are visually pleasing and harmonious to the eye and why some are not.  It also tells me how to improve my shots when I am processing them.

How about you?  Do you prefer warm or cool tones or a combination of both?  As for me, I like a combination from both sides of the color wheel.  Come to think of it, that’s also true of the colors in my last apartment!

This brings me to my final point.  What difference does harmony make in photography and in life?  I’ll let these words from a very wise man speak for me:

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.~Marcus Aurelius

Thank you, Tina, for your inspiring theme this week, which has given me a chance to explore harmony.  Next week, it’s my turn to post challenge #45.  I hope you join us!  I hope your week is filled with harmony and inspiration.

44 replies »

  1. Great examples all, and beautiful photography, Patti! As Always your posts are a treat with thoughtful reflections too. I think I have a special love for the combination of warm and cool tones. Love your seascape with the cliffs. But, there is such a glorious harmony in your first shot as well – red, pink and green in those succulents. Thank you for brightening my Sunday!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful response Patti – personally my favorite image is your opener – maybe not because of the colors but because of the composition. Which I suppose illustrates that our impressions of images are a combination of many factors, including color! I’ve always been a neutrals kind of gal favoring warm beiges and ivories yet my photography is all over the color map. Studying images and why they appeal is a favorite exercise, and I always find lots to love in your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina. Thank you, thank you! I stood over that amazing plant and tried to figure out how to best capture it. What magnificent color! It’s true that so many factors influence whether we like a shot or not. Taking apart the pieces and looking “under the hood” is always useful. Now, I’ll put what I learned to use….:) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sally. That’s a great way to say it. The plant wants us to pay attention! I’m so glad you liked that one. 🙂 Happy gardening this week. 🙂


  3. Beautiful photos and colors all, Patti. I think what appeals to me most may depend sometimes on the day. 🙂 That first shot fascinates me because it almost looks like a painting and the green centers really pop in contrast. It would make a devilishly hard puzzle!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Janet. Thanks! That’s a fantastic idea. To make this into a puzzle. I’ve seen that there are websites that will take a photo and do that. 🙂 🙂


  5. My favourite shot is the sea holly, Patti. There’s a softness to it that I find very appealing. They’re all beautiful! Where have you wandered to this week? Still in Florence- I’ve lost track? 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. The sea holly does look beautifully soft–I agree! Thanks too for your kind words about the images. 🙂 We are still in Florence and will be here for another month or so. I’ll miss this place when we leave, I’m sure. It’s probably warmer where you are right now. Here we alternate between warm, sunny weather and cool, rainy weather.


  6. I love this post, Patti. Thank you for showing us the color theory which I don’t always pay attention to when I take photo. 🙂
    Beautiful photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love your last shot of The Twelve Apostles…although only six or seven remain standing. For 55 years that sight was only a hour from home. I have made many trips along the western end of The Great Ocean Road when visitors or friends were around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Woolly. Thanks so much! I can’t imagine living that close to the 12 (or 7 or 8) Apostles. What a gorgeous part of the world. We really enjoyed our visit there earlier this year.


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