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Something from nothing

In response to the WordPress Daily Post challenge Shadow

I like the way the low sun comes in through the window sometimes and makes strong, long shadows. Ordinary things suddenly have interest because of the shadow shapes they make. This fork turns into a scythe in shadow. I like the way the real and the shadow touch so delicately at the point of the tines and the shadow then curves back so elegantly.


You can find interesting shadows all over the house when the light is right. Here’s one of my bedpost.


I don’t normally use shadows so explicitly as objects in their own right. The norm is the way you use shadow as part of your composition to create balance. I think composition is all about balance – balance of light and shade, balance of colours, balance of shapes. If tone, colour and shape all had weight, where would the centre of gravity of your picture be? Would all the weight be in  the middle or spread out?

In this shot of Manchester’s Castlefield area the strong diagonal shadow in the foreground emphasises the strong light in the lower third and creates a hard line that leads your eye into the picture and makes you want to follow the pavement around the corner to see what’s there.


In the taking and making of pictures, the making part is very much about manipulating tones to make a balance between light and shade so the balance of the picture lies where you want it to lie. In this shot I wanted the balance to be on the sunlit snowy hill top on the centre third. I lightened the bottom half and darkened the top half of the picture to get this balance.

Scandale Fell

You can see in the version straight out of camera that the sky is much lighter and bottom half much darker. The balance is wrong and the picture doesn’t work. So as well as looking for shadows that are out there in real life, consider how the shadows might need to be adjusted in post processing to get the composition you want.

Scandale Fell

The RAW version of the picture above, straight out of the camera with no post-processing.


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