This is a subject I’ve written about many times. The main point to this particular post, is to place a series of images featuring the use of shadows, on one page. When you cruise through these images first take the photo in all at once, and then let your eyes search out the shadows. Notice what they do to or for, the final picture. Good or bad? Dramatic of boring? Mysterious or confusing?
Photographers love to say that making pictures is about the light, and it certainly is, but it can be just as much about the shadows that light creates.
Shadows crossing a picture frame can in fact be bothersome, but in the right location, it creates contrast which in turn gives the illusion of dimension. The photo is of course only two-dimensional.
Small shadows mean texture in photography. This is once again a visual aid to the appearance of three dimensions.
White Sands New Mexico is the location I generally use to show delineation between light and shadow and how it can be used to display pattern.
Dark shadows in back of primary subjects provide eye-popping contrast. In addition, it means the background is clean and provides no distractions from the subject you intended to show.
Silhouettes are in fact shadows. Backlighting at sunrise/sunset makes it very clear what your intentions are as a photographer. It’s all about shape and form.
Long shadows can make a statement about the final (or first) light of the day.
Shadows can be moody and mysterious.
There is no place that the term “shadow dancing” is more apropos than with a moving bird, that is swimming through constantly moving shadows, that are created by clouds that are also moving. It is in fact, a dance.
The darker your subject is, the more important it is to keep the shadow away from at least one eye. Eye contact can be important in wildlife photography.
Shadows created by sunshine, that falls on little critters, can either add a somewhat surreal dimension, or be a perfect mimic of the subject, as with first this Daddy Long-legs and then a Tree Cricket show. As long as they fall under or away from the subject, they can be an enhancement.
Shadows can work well with manmade objects. That window needs some dimension to help make this old ruin appear more 3D. The shadow is the perfect aid to solving that dilemma. Sometimes the smallest shadow is enough.
The shadows cast inside the old barn make for a perfect abstract.
Of course as I noted earlier, silhouettes are shadows too, and they work well with the “hand of man”
If you’re a photographer, it is better to run with the shadows, than to run from them. Embrace what can bring mystery and beauty to your imagery. They are one more artistic tool in your arsenal.
Have a great day living in the shadows, Wayne