Friday, December 18, 2015

A Study of Shadows

Light is extremely variable and each type of light will give us very different results. Light can be soft and diffused or hard and directional.

We can quickly learn how light behaves in certain situations. When the sun is behind our back, we can see how space becomes shallower, the colours are more distinct and vibrant and the lines sharper. When we look into the sun, we can see silhouettes and shapes of the object. The colours are muted. When light comes in directionally from the left of right, it gives the subject a strong three­ dimensional quality.

Light, like colour, also has temperature. Warm light is yellow or red and cool light leans to blue. As the day progresses, each change in the colour of light creates a new image. In the morning light tends to be pink and yellow, midday light is bluish­ white, while in the evening it has a warm yellow and red glow.

Essentially, there is no good or bad light. Each type of light has its own qualities. Having an understanding of the properties and qualities of different types of light allows us to be better prepared to make the best use of the available light.

The best way to study the light and how it influences the world around us is to start a personal project. Go to a garden and locate an interesting subject. Walk around it and see how the relationship between flowers and foliage changes with the direction of the sunlight. Notice when your subject looks flat and two­ dimensional and when light adds texture and depth. Take multiple pictures of each side for a reference. Do this same exercise on an overcast day and then at different times ­in the morning, midday and evening. To take your study even father, do this exercise during each season – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Observe how the light, mood and feelings change.

Each of us naturally will be drawn to a particular light condition. Regardless of whether the light is soft, subtle, and diffused or obtrusive and harsh, it is always present, moving and ever changing.

My subject for this project was 'Egbert' a hard boiled egg. He was photographed in many types of light and at different times of the day. My results follow...

Egbert mid day-shadow is very dark, small and sharp


Here Egbert is in the shade from the house. The shadow is soft around the edges and darkest just beneath him. Highest value of light is on the top of the egg.



This was taken in doors beside a large slider in the early afternoon. The shadow on the floor is dark, crisp and slightly elongated. Also the shadow on Egbert splits him in two and is very harsh.


This is taken on a deck containing a gazebo, with late afternoon sun. Egbert's shadow is longer and gets fainter. Also the shadow on the egg  compasses almost half of him.


This was taken outside under an awning but on the white frosted glass table. It it late afternoon, 5 pm and the shadow is very long but still dark. Not as crisp as the midday shadow and there is still a harsh shadow line on the egg



 Same location as the other image only taken later, 6pm. The shadows are softer on both the table and Egbert.


Same location, but on an overcast day, mid afternoon. Even with the reflection from the white table the shadow is very soft, but darkest just under Egbert. Overall soft shadow on the egg.


Same day and time but on the deck, there is no reflection from the white table.  The shadow is soft but disturbed more and darkest just under him.

These findings help with the direction or the quality of a shadow when adding it to composite of two or more elements. And when portrait outside.


2 comments:

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Interesting study of shadows. Valerie

EG CameraGirl said...

This is a fun Project. (and I will try something like it.) Egbert makes a fine model. ;)