Contrast can really bring out features and details of subjects in photos. Generally it lets your subject stand out from the background and draws the viewers eye to the subject. However contrast in composition can be a remarkably effective way to portray things in environments you would not normally find things. I always thought of contrast as something you use in black&white mainly, but in the images below I found a very powerful use for it. The contrast effect with the subject and the dark background forces the viewers eye to what I want them to focus on. There is nowhere else to look, there is no distractions and as long as the key points are in focus I can direct the eye to what I was seeing. For me it was more the contrast between colour and darkness. It really places the focus on colour.
Masked Love Bird