A Closer Look at This Image
A combine harvester in a wheat field doesn’t sound very exciting, right? Let’s take a look at why what could potentially be boring subject matter actually makes a really interesting photograph.
Texture and Contrast
I can’t look at this image without wanting to reach
in and touch the wheat; particularly the unharvested crop on the left. It looks
like velvet. The contrast between that and the crops already harvested is
The other thing about seeing the half and half
textures like this is that it’s such a familiar sight to so many, that you can
almost smell the cut wheat; it’s very evocative.
Either way, whatever feeling it evokes for you, that sensory transfer—the phenomena of your vision creating a feeling and impression of touch or smell—is a powerful effect.
Shape and Implied Action
Like all photos, the action is stopped. However, because of how things are arranged, in our mind we can imagine the machine moving across the field.
There is something infinitely satisfying about watching something remove something else in neat lines. There may not be movement to this image, but it’s pleasing nonetheless. The photographer has managed to capture the combine almost exactly halfway through the harvest and this has resulted in some great ‘striping’ of the field.
Seeing a harvest from above is unusual, which makes the image interesting and almost makes it lose its context—it looks more like something being ‘shaved’ than wheat being collected.
The placement of the harvester frustrates me though. I don’t know about you, but I wish it was either bang in the middle or conformed to one of the ‘rules’.
You can see it misses the rule of thirds ideal placements and also the golden spiral – two of the most popular compositions. Not that every image has to conform, of course.
The colours are analogous here, yellow, orange (or
a darker yellow) and green. I think this makes the whole shot flow well, but it
also helps to add to the mood. The colours are predominantly warm which
immediately transports me to summer; particularly towards the end of August or
start of September, when the fields are being harvested like this.
Reading a Photograph
We'd love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you're not sure where to begin, then How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly, it's just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!