Black-capped Chickadee captured by Z 9 / Z100-400 w/Z2x

We use contrast, the difference between highlight and shadow, to help define our subject. For example, shadow helps define the shape of a subject, shows its round rather than flat. In flat light though, we have no exposure contrast but we do have another contrast we can take advantage of. If you look carefully at this photo of the Black-capped Chickadee, there is no shadow showing the plumpness of the chickadee or roundness of the limbs or tree. But because I have used color contrast, the mind fills that in and the soft, saturated light helps create the feeling of softness. The color contrast between the greens and white of the chickadee rather than a shadow makes the chickadee pop in the frame so you see it even though it’s small in the frame. I use color contrast all the time because it permits more play with the subject bringing out character and emotion. It’s a powerful tool you need in your arsenal of visual storytelling!

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