It takes light to create a photo. Without the shadows you cannot see the light. This month, we challenged our Lowepro Storytellers to show us how shadows can impact an image. Take a moment and walk with us into the shadows.
The yellow glow and layers of the Wind River watershed in Washington as seen from Dog Mountain. This area spent much of the summer in a thick haze of smoke from the nearby Eagle Creek fire. As the fall slips towards winter, it’s nice to welcome back a few days of visibility to the Columbia Gorge.
Shadows in my humble opinion are one of the most important pieces in creating a dynamic and interesting photo. When I arrived at Glacier National Park in Montana for a brief overnight adventure to make some photographs I was greeted by a day that was less than ideal for creating the landscape photograph that I had always envisioned making in this place. I struggled feeling slightly defeated because the sun foiled my initial plan. What I saw off in the distance of that glacial lake was a small island completely backlit and cast in shadow. That single shadow in that single moment is what makes this entire picture work for me. Without it, the photograph would just be a picture with a lake and mountains on an overcast day.
This end of day scene was captured on the Dal lake of Kashmir’s capital Srinagar. Many times in the news for its heated politics, the beauty of this region can sometime be overseen. Locals row between homes and shops on the Dal lake in what is one of the most fascinating towns on water. This unique setting creates an exceptional game of colours and shadows during sunset.
Intimidation at its finest and youngest. I had the player stand in right spot to create enough shadow to give the sense of power. Right after we took this photo, the player burst into laughing, as any kid would do when told to ‘act mean’.
Sometimes shadows can make for the most interesting and moody light to capture emotions and moments. I’ve found myself frequently embracing this moodier light the past couple years. Instead of always looking for the bright and airy angle, the shadows often highlight moments better than anything else!
I can honestly say I’ve lived in a shadow, but in this case it was a shadow of the moon. Witnessing a total eclipse directly in the path of totality was something that will stay with me forever. The suns light is blocked by the moon causing it to appear to be almost night, essentially casting a giant shadow of the moon on to earth. Here is the photo I capture from inside that shadow.
Sometimes the shadows are just as important as the light! In this image the dark, shadowed areas really help provide texture to the shot.
Nikkor 70-200 2.8 lens
Hand held at 150mm
Shadows are meant to be embraced, paired them with beautiful light and you have the formula for a great image. There’s something to be said about flat images too. Where neither light nor shadow dominates the photo. In these instances is where composition shines.
I’m a master of fright, and a deeeemon of light!
Photography is all about light. But we often need shadows to appreciate that light. Shadows are often used to set a tone or mood, often ominous or dark. Shadows can be scene stealers, or they can be supporting characters. The shadowy darkness of this particular image helps set the mood, tell the story, and gives us a sense of place and time.
Photography being light at its most basic level has always had me interested in its opposite: shadows. I am currently shooting in Iceland and loving all this country has to offer, it’s incredible! I’d been driving and hiking for days looking for dark/light scenes. When I saw this scene with these white iconic Icelandic horses and stark shadows silhouetting the Vestrahorn unfold before me I knew this was the drama I’ve been looking for in the frame.
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6 @ 130mm
ISO 800 – high ISO used to increase cameras sensitivity to light while hand holding.
Shutter: 1/1250 second to maintain sharpness due to hand-holding the camera, no tripod.
Shadows direct our eye, make us see what is necessary or can be used to distinguish darkness or light. The simplicity of a shadow can reveal parts of a story that otherwise would go unnoticed.
A group of Rockhopper penguins is hopping on the beach coming back from a day fishing at sea. The low light of the evening capture the beautiful long shadows on the white beach.
Saunders Islands – Falklands
The world of shadows is a wonderful place, where the unseen is as much a part of an image as what is seen; much like the way stops and rests within music are at least as important as the notes being played.
Quin ran up to the fourth level in the gorgeous Studio Bell building in our home town of Calgary to get this shot. To create the shadow, Quin had me hide just out of frame behind the groom with my flash raised high on a monopod. I love the composition, colours, shadows and textures that make this image so striking.