Vibrant backgrounds are often what transform landscapes from ordinary to extraordinary, but they’re rarely all that’s needed. Never underestimate the foreground. A visually arresting nearby object can captivate the viewer and draw them into the scene. Leading lines and S curves work especially well, and give context to the background.
Last Friday a colorful sunset emerged as I rode my bike down the Esplanade on the Boston side of the Charles. It had been a painfully hot day and the stagnant air had formed a low hazey layer in the sky, covering the sun just enough to make it photographable and extremely vibrant. But I found myself frantically biking up and down the river in search of a nice foreground before I lost the light. Just near the Harvard Bridge, some overhanging branches caught my eye, lending nice curves towards the sunset. I like that the jet black silhouette balances the blues and reds of the late evening sky, providing something more visually interesting than a bland gradient, and the curving branches balance the jagged Cambridge cityscape.