The Edge

To say that the posts that I write on these pages, have had more than a fair amount of repetitiveness to them, would be understating the obvious.  Especially the photography posts. I have been writing them for a long time now, and my mind travels in circles and eventually returns to where it has already been. Still, I somehow manage to add or subtract some things in order to bring at least a tiny bit of freshness to new articles.

The concept of capturing wildlife images that either display behavior, or innate personality traits indigenous to that specific species has been done here a time or two.

Creating close-up or macro images that concentrate on details, such as leaf design, or the patterns in the “eyes of a frog”, are subjects I have done to death I suppose.

Sharing my thoughts (with examples) of how one landscape photo can carry within it those things that show it to be a distinct location, be that location a famous or unknown one, and then another photo that is all about texture or color variations or shape, are ideas I have written about in a post or two.

Photographing manmade subjects like maybe old bridges or barns, or lighthouses, or even isolated pieces of wooden board, and what they have in common with rock formations or mountains or rivers, has also been repetitive subject with me.

With all that said, I believe that writing about the visual edge of things, and the color contrasts, or texture contrasts, or exposure contrasts that live at those edges, where dark meets light, where warm meets cool, where rough meets smooth, or where spring meets winter, may be the most repetitive subject on this blog. There is a reason for that. Without some sort of edge contrast, somewhere in an image, there is no image.

Here we go again!

Color meets the black abyss. Black meets yellow. Smooth meets texture. Wet meets dry. Edges and contrasts.

This was always one of my favorite subjects. I loved making close-ups of butterflies, but even more than that I loved exploiting the edges of things where the contrasts of life live.

The edges around this Arizona rock formation, including the sky above it, have “pop”.  The cool blue sky and the warm sunset and shadows on Navajo Sandstone rock, have pop at their edges. There is also an edge created where the visible rock disappears into shadows. Detail against darkness.

The edge.

Below is a great example of lightness and dark, and how the edge produces drama.  This was captured at sunrise.

We would not be able to see the fascinating shape of Arches National Park’s Balanced Rock, if it were not for the edge between light and dark defining that shape. As an added feature, the warm color of sunrise visually advances toward us, while the lack of any detail on the rock, tends to force it back into the distance.

The edge is where it’s at.

Even in wildlife photography, it is the edge that produce the definition of shape.

This colorful male eastern Bluebird is glorious not only because he is well……glorious, but because his colors are featured in front of a fairly obscure, out of focus background. His shape is recognizable, and his colors are so brilliant, because of the contrasts that exist around his edges, with that soft background.

Even with somewhat colorless birds, a contrasting, fairly colorful, continuous tone background makes the bird pop. Those color and tone differences from the background, that give the bird texture and shape, are produced by the edges of where the bird and the sky meet. Also, the texture within the bird is created and given to us via the edges of where light and dark collide.

Without the edges in this photo, the bird really does not exist.

This is a Double-crested Cormorant.

Whether it’s the edge between land and sky, the edge dividing two colors, the edge between light and dark, the edge between warm and cool, the edge between the seasons, the edge between a storm and the clearing, the edge of the animal world and nature in general, the edge is one of the best tools for a photographer. Rather than just making photos and letting the edge fall where it may, take control and “notice” edges wherever they are found, and use it via exposure or composition.

The seasons and what they bring, are always a great subject for photographers. I’ve always been interested in those brief periods that mate one season to another.

Of course it helps to be somewhere that has two distinct seasons.

One of he easiest couplings is summer with fall.  Colors like yellow, orange, and in the case below red, “clash beautifully” with the greens of summer and provide for photographers an opportunity to share those parings. We can show seasonal contrasts through the use of color contrasts that occur where the edges of those colors meet.

If summer turns to autumn, just as surely fall will turn into winter.

Early frosts and snows coupled with the fruits of summer or autumn, make a statement about an in-between season that also exists. We just need to keep our eyes open and our thoughts clear.

The edge of the season.

Winter may well provide more “edges” than any other season.

In the case below, frozen water or ice, combined with water as a soft flowing liquid, provide an edge or a contrast, between that soft willowy flowing water and the hard cold ice. A semi lengthy shutter speed of course aided me in capturing my view of winter with an edge by rendering the moving water as soft “cotton candy”.

Winter has its own set of edges. Such as “sharp” icicles rimming the bottom of a rock lined river bank.

Crisp, hard, white  ice and smooth glossy river ice provide a contrasty edge that is visually stimulating.

An image like this has an inherent issue with exposure, Keeping the white ice white and the black ice black can be helped by working on the those two areas separately during the editing process. This image however is an old film transparency that was copied straight up into the digital format. Practice while in the field makes for “near”  perfection.

When working in soft light conditions, contrast, which provides visual edges, is hard to find. Dark tree trunks and branches, mixed with snow or frost, will provide enough contrast to define shapes and produce a moody image. Where those dark branches cross the soft frost, are of course edges.

Land and sky always provide an edge. In this case, the blue sky and the white sand, provide a color contrast, and a texture contrast, and some tonal contrast. They all evolve from you guessed it, the edge. Even those furrows of sand, have edges which create patterns. They help define the depth within the furrows.

Architecture is no less subject to being affected by the edges of things.

The edges and therefore contrasts of bright red and pure white, along with mixes of vertical and horizontal lines, provide pop and structure in this image of an old barn. Even that small bit of roof we see in the upper right hand corner of the photo provides a line and some contrast with the rest of the image.

As we have seen, edges can either  be straight, at oblique angles, or roam around within a picture frame.

This is the very edge of light.

The late afternoon sun hits this observatory while the sky in the background, shows a massive storm that is coming. There exists a tonal edge and dramatically so.  The foreground grasses and trees, are yet another edge. Edges can provide contrast and that fact is on display in this photo. A photo of manmade architecture and weather made by a higher another source.

Seeing and using the photographic edge, is the heart and soul of image making.


I have enjoyed returning to photography as a primary subject for this blog. With that said, I will never completely stop sharing my thoughts, such as they are, on social and political issues. Above all, I will continue to write about my religious beliefs.

Our time here is brief, so I attempt to share what I consider to be most important, whilst also sharing what is for me pure enjoyment, photography.

God Bless,

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2 Responses to The Edge

  1. Darlene says:

    I really took my time on both reading this blog & studying your beautiful images Wayne, all of which was very enjoyable! I’m looking forward to spring, being outside everyday with our little dog, & working in the flower gardens 🌹🌻🌼🌺💐 God Bless you Wayne

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