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Hot Shots: Aerial Photo of a Farming Combine Harvesting Wheat

This post is part of a series called Hotshots: Fresh Perspective from Envato Photographers.
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Combine harvester gathers the wheat at sunset
Combine harvester gathers the wheat at sunset available on Envato Elements

Today's Image: Combine harvester gathers the wheat at sunset. This image is by Vlad_star and it's available on Envato Elements.

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 lovely.

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’.

Left: Golden Spiral. Right: Rule of Thirds grid

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.

Evocative Colour

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!


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