When we spoke about contrast, harmony and balance in class, my mind was immediately drawn to this image I took a few years back when I was in San Diego. It was at the end of December and early in the day, so Mission Beach was virtually empty. This photo shows contrast, harmony and balance in a few ways.
First (and most obvious) is the contrast between the the silhouette of the man walking on the beach. While the rest of the picture is in color, there is only a dark, black outline of this man. The photo also shows a contrast of texture, where the sand and sky show almost a grainy feel, and the black silhouette shows no texture at all.
The balance of this photo is also nice. Using the rule of thirds, I cropped the photo to put the silhouette right along the edge of the right third of the photo. The amount of sand and sky is pretty close to 50/50, though the horizon is a little higher. The diagonal lines from the tire tracks in the sand also send the eye from right to left, towards a vanishing point in the left third of the photo to a secondary darker/silhouetted area.
Harmony is apparent in the color of this photo. The blue sky and the gold sand are complementary in their color and provide a calming feel to the photo. The tire tracks also follow a similar direction, and seem to parallel themselves with the footprints in the sand (The man walking on the beach also follows the same direction).
Looking at this photo from more broad view, psychologically it just evokes a calming feeling. It may be just my personal emotional attachment to this photo, but each time I look at this photo I want to be back on that beach. I said it earlier, but the calming feeling the photo evokes is very prevalent to me. I think that the cultural context of this picture also shows itself well. There is a certain culture with surfers and beach communities. While the silhouette is simple, the idea of the man walking alone on the beach really exemplifies that culture to me.