Dogwood 52: Assignment #9 "Shadows"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Shadows: The opposite of light is dark, the absence of light is shadow. Interpret this into a masterpiece.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.


The paper window covers have a really cool texture, and the light was coming in quite nicely through them on this particular overcast day. At first I shot with just the window, but it was lacking a bit so I thought I'd practice my modeling skills a bit. I like the amount of reflectivity on my hands, and how they stand out from the shadow.


For this assignment I immediately jumped to thinking about high-contrast night photography. With the contrast pumped up and the exposure dropped just a touch you take pictures of what seems to be a different world where black and white are separated by hard edges. It's the same world evoked by, e.g., the Sin City franchise. Images are immediately abstract and relatable if gritty and, well, exactly noir. In this case, we have a bar with a few patrons in different layers. I would have liked to fill flash to get the layers more clearly, but the bright bar lights rim light the couple by the window which is good enough.
I'm also posting some more "dark world" images I took while walking around in this shoot. Together they're not unlike the place I live, but they tell a story which oozes with intrigue even if I just think of these places as familiar and homely normally.


I live in a creepy old house that was built in 1912, originally as a bakery.  Rumor has it that a horrible accident happened, and the bakery couldn't stay open anymore.  I'm not sure if the shadowy nature of the house comes from its dark history, or from the fact that I live with several pathologists.


When I first took this picture I did not anticipate it being an appropriate fit for the shadow assignment. It wasn't until I was scanning my images and started playing with it that it started to show its impact. I love how the hallway frames the window and creates contrast for the light and shadows to stand out. This may be a stretch as far as a typical shadow picture, however, I feel the shadows are what make this image. 


I was looking through my photos from the last few months and came across this one. I really liked it because it captures the shadowy silhouettes of our figures as we are walking to our climbing destination. The shadowy silhouettes are somewhat messy with bits of rope sticking out and shoe shadow lumps sticking out, but the rope in the foreground, while the rope in the foreground is stacked more neatly.


First, I tried to use household objects to create shadow effects. After getting sufficiently bored of trying, a fellow photographer bestowed upon me his flash. I played with this handheld flash as I trampled through my backyard trying to figure out how to use it AND get a photo in a flash. (ha) 
But after the initial desperation wore off when I couldn't really find shadows, I began to play with items in my backyard and flash angles to examine their effects in creating shadows. It was even more fun to edit these in Lightroom and watch details that I didn't even know were there just emerge from the photo.