Technology changes with time, but the fundamentals and recipes in photography remains. This article was first published in 2006, revised in 2018
The funniest thing about Shadow is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like a rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all. — A quote from Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894). A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods
Shadow is one of the Design Elements in Visual Art. You can find it being utilized in photography and painting.
Shadow come and go in a fleeting moment. We encounter shadow everyday and everywhere. Sometimes it is very obvious, sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is long, sometimes it disappears. Most often, many people simply walk away without noticing how shadow can help create an interesting photograph.
There are no special lenses needed to capture the shadow. The handphone camera with its Program mode is able to do the job well. But of course, the Digital SLRs provide the photographers with more options to play with, such as the higher range of ISO and wider range of aperture.
Your main problem would probably be camera shake due to shutter speed slower than 1/(focal length). In this case, you may have to consider using a higher ISO and a bigger aperture to get you a faster shutter speed to minimize camera shake.
The below shall serve as a useful guide to aid you in the search for shadow.
The ingredients for shadow:
- The best time to get good natural shadow will be early morning or late evening on a sunny and non cloudy day. The quality of light and shadow is at its optimum best during this period.
- Shadow is longer early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
- Shadow from artificial light will be great if the light source emits strong light. Sounds like common sense but spotting such opportunities is not easy even though it can be found everywhere. The Art of Seeing!
- The main subject must have distinct outlines so that the shadow will be obvious. Avoid group of subjects or else the shadow will just become one big black area with no distinct shape.
With the above in mind, you can use this technique and tips in your quest to catch the lurking shadow.Views: 2012