What is the one thing that helps us all remember something, be it an image, be it a phrase or what have you? It’s repetition. Repetition is cleverly a disguise for one of our favorite building blocks of course: Pattern. Pattern doesn’t have to be regular, nor does each element need to snap into a grid or regular defined rows. It can be aloof, and free flowing and…well, it could be a lot like Stephen Flores‘s photo, Hot Air Balloon Twinkle.
The type of pattern that Stephen is exhibiting here is a repetition of shape. The hot air balloons are each at different elevations and different distances from the lens, and so we see a number of positions and sizes. But they are all essentially a similar shape, despite the different patterns and colors. To our eyes and to our mind, this is a playground. We tend to pull towards the largest balloon, but then we bounce around the different sizes to explore their patterns, or to explore their differences. Deep down inside, our mine knows and understands the large volume of space that this photo captures. Though our only clue is the different sizes of the balloons. Our minds are clever that way.
Beyond the pattern and repetition that holds this photo together, there are a few other elements that adds to the interest. I like how Stephen tucked the moon, so tiny, in the upper right corner. It’s a subtle but important bit of context. I also like the muted tones. Nothing is incredibly bright white and everything is nice and earthy and warm. It’s reminiscent of any peaceful summer night: You remember what happened, but the details might be a little foggy. That’s Stephen’s connection to the viewer. And that’s where he’s won us over.
Stephen Flores’s photostream is filled with a number of great and hard to capture subjects such as fireworks and low-key subjects. And yes, there are more exceptional hot air balloon photographs if you’re curious about that. You will also see his humor come through every once in a while, one photo of which, Lineup, we spotlighted last spring.