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Friday 10 January 2014

A Personal Photo Challenge: Shadows

Linking to Donna's Personal Photo Challenge.

When I first read this month's photography challenge, a couple of thoughts went through my head.  First, I smiled to think of my Little Miss this last fall desperately trying to shake off her shadow.  She doesn't like it one little bit and we are careful, on sunny afternoons, to point her into the light.  But I realized that the shadow hasn't given us trouble lately, so either that stage has passed or -- and here's my second thought -- our shadows haven't been around in a while.

Mysterious.  Ominous.  The case of the missing shadows.  But it's true.  Here on the Canadian west coast winter months are grey and drizzly.  We don't see the sun for weeks and months on end -- or does it only feel like weeks and months?  I started paying attention.  Mostly, it's pretty grey with the occasional, and very unpredictable, break of passing brightness.  Twice in the last month, we had a string of three or four sunny days. What a boon!  I'd like to tell you that I was out there with my camera, making the most of that sunshine, but I wasn't.  There was Christmas to prepare for.  The flu hit.  I went out without my camera.  You know, life.  But I did get out into the garden, camera in hand, for a few minutes last week before the sun set (so early).  So here are my offerings.

In these two shots the late afternoon sunshine projects images from the garden onto an old fence and casts a dramatic dichotomy of light and dark across a wooden shed.  I like the texture in both, though the shed is my favorite.  On this day I had literally minute to work before losing the light and didn't remember until it was too late that I wanted to play with the exposure settings on my camera.  This is a feature I learned about in Donna's recommended readings and wanted to try out.  *Sigh*  I settled for darkening the shadows and bringing up the highlights a little in Picasa.

Both of the above photos taken with my Nikon 1 J2, a 10-30mm lens and Shutter Priority setting.

I wasn't sure about including this picture as reflections aren't quite the same as shadows, but I finally had opportunity to use that exposure setting.  Here I lowered the exposure a couple of notches and was pleased with the deeper, stronger colours of the pier.  There's so much to learn and I'm having such a wonderful time at it.  This was a good day for camera play and you can read more about it here if you like.

Photo taken with my Nikon 1 J2, a 30-110mm zoom lens and Aperture Priority setting.

Thank you to Donna for tossing out these challenges and to all the other kind bloggers who visited me last time around.  I might be getting hooked.


  1. The photo of the pier is really strong. Love the contrasts and deep colours. Who knew an industrial pier could look so good. I also like the contrast of sun and shadow in the second photo, and the play of the branches in the first.

  2. Very nice, and hey, I can sympathize over the lack of shadows too...lol.

    I especially love the pier shot.


  3. Well, I hope you are hooked on these challenges! I'm so glad that you found the blog last month and braved the waters, so to speak. Everyone is very supportive and just the variety alone - of subject matter and participants' work - provides inspiration that translates into your own work. I'm loving the texture of that second photo too, and I had to smile when you said "dramatic dichotomy." Great description. My absolute favorite is the last one. You have a strong diagonal line for composition and an abundance of that sweet, golden afternoon light. And the deep shadows in it give it a 3-dimensional quality. It is a lovely shot.

    And I am so glad that you are experimenting with exposure compensation settings. I shoot aperture priority about 98% of the time. The only time I shoot shutter priority is when the subject is something moving at a pretty good rate of speed. I like to control my depth of field with aperture priority to ensure what I want in focus is, indeed, in focus. And exposure compensation is needed more often that people realize. Automatic exposure is good to a point, but many contrasty scenes will fool your camera meter. So photographer needs to be smarter than the camera and realize when exposure compensation is needed.

  4. That last one is my favorite with the deep color--and shadows mixed into the reflections. It is amazing if we look how we can see the shadows we often pass quickly by we're so used to seeing them. I really like the shed one. These are all kind of emotive for me … not sure why, but I think it's a compliment!

  5. I love the shadows on the wood fence...gives it such a beautiful texture. You are a wonderful photographer! Great photos for the challenge! Hugs, Diane

  6. So glad that you decided to use the final photo. It looks magazine worthy. It is certainly true that many of us had to work quickly to find a shadow this month. Fun story about your little one who doesn't appreciate a tag-along. Those shadows have no sense of personal space!

  7. Wonderful photos Cristal. I really like the last one for the bright colours, reflections and shadows melding with the water. Very industrial. Well done.

  8. Hi Cristal - so glad you joined us for the challenge. It wasn't easy this month with not a lot of time to get good shadow shots with the cold winter weather conditions, that's why I had to look back at older pics.
    Love your choices - very different and so well done. I really love the hues in the wood fence of the first shot, and the shadows of the shrub in the sunlight.

    Happy weekend, Mary

  9. The shadows on the fence from the plants are like painted artwork. I'm glad you included the last photo, where the shadows are hidden almost as they blend with the water.

  10. Crystal, I absolutely love the second shot. It beckons.
    All three are really nice but number two is definitely my fav.

  11. The second is my favorite and love the deep colors in the last one. Great job!

  12. Hello Cristal
    Good to see you're back again this month!
    Such lovely shadow shots.
    I'm oohing and aahing over your last image - it's really magical - hard to beat!


  13. I especially like those top two photos. Studying the shadows makes them that much prettier!

  14. I know what you mean about rarely seeing the sun this time of year! Whenever the sun comes out I rush for my camera because,who knows how long the light will last? :)) I especially like your top photo.

  15. I love the first two best because I can almost feel the coolness of the shadows.

  16. The two garden shots are great! Light can evoke such a myriad of feelings and memories and these two photos certainly do just that. I had to look at the third one a while, but the more I looked the more I saw: reflections, shadows, the clouds rimmed with shining light - a lot going on there! Nice job!

  17. I just joined the challenge and am working my way through the links. Your photos are just beautiful. I really like the fence shot because it really shows the WARM and COOL color affect the sun has on objects. I also paint and this would be easy to recreate because the color choices would be so clear... yellows, beiges, and browns on the left (warm) and blues, purples, and grays on the right (cool). Thanks for sharing with us!

  18. Well, I hope you ARE getting hooked!Lol These are lovely!!! And I see shadows in the third shot! You did a beautiful job of it....