LAPC #198: Light and Shadow

When you see the shadows, you will also see the light.

Rick Ohnsman

The experts tell us to focus on the light when we want to take our photography up a notch. But as Rick Ohnsman reminds us, it’s not just about the light. It’s both light and shadow, which are “immutably entwined, two sides of the same coin, both to be….embraced, admired, loved, and known.”

This week, we’re exploring the interplay of light and shadow–at different times of the day, in different seasons, under natural light, in artificial light. Choose whatever conditions you like. It’s totally up to you. You may also want to process your images in black and white to highlight the light and shadows.

To get your creative wheels “spinning,” let’s start with this very old photo of a hostess in Grand Central Station. I was surprised and delighted when I processed it many years ago.

You can see how the artificial light creates a golden backdrop for the plant, computer, coat rack, and hostess and casts them in shadow.

It was almost noon when I captured this image of a shared space in an apartment building in Boston. The sun flooded the room with natural light. I processed the image in black and white, to bring out the contrast between the light and shadows.

This statue in the Medici Palace is partly illuminated and partly in shadow. This helps to create a dramatic mood.

I captured this copse of trees in the late afternoon in Florence. Even in the spring, the light is intense and can create dramatic shadows. Here you can see trees half in the light and half in shadow. There are more shadows underneath the trees and across the road. They add depth to the photo.

Light and Shadow in the Park–Color vs. Black and White

This last image was a total surprise. Earlier this week, I was experimenting with the action pan feature on my phone when I saw a cyclist on a path in the park. I loved the action blur effect. In color, the cyclist’s red jacket really stands out as well as the greenery. Then, I processed the image in black and white, which highlights the areas of light and shadow.

I hope you join us this week as we explore Rick Ohnsman’s advice to focus on both light and shadow in our photography. Be sure to include a link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can easily find and enjoy your photos.  

Last week, Tina inspired us to explore The Rule of Thirds, which lead to wonderful discussions about our preferences in composing a shot. Next week, it’s Ann-Christine’s turn, so be sure to visit her Leya site.

If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

182 replies »

    • Hi, Andre. Your collection was outstanding! And thanks for your kind words about the cyclist. Monochrome is your favorite? I think it’s mine, too. My son liked the one in color, so that’s why I included both!

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      • Yes, I love monochrome. It’s my legacy. In the early 1980 I used to have my own lab. In that time, I worked for an advertising company as a side job: photographing repro of lithos when they come from the drawer, developed the film in my darkroom, enlarged them to film (output format 1:1) to use the for preparing screens for screenprinting. Each Monday I‘m publishing a new monochrome image and each Friday I‘m a co-publisher at a dedicated monochrome blog (that post is also cross-posted at my blog). To your cyclist, the colors are in my opinion a bit distracting. Like in the old Hitchcock movies, lights and darks right set, create a beautiful scenery

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      • Oh….thanks for this feedback, Andre. I can see your point about the color vs. black and white. You have a wonderful legacy in the darkroom. I spent some time developing our photos, but I haven’t done it now for many years. It’s magical, I think!

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      • It is, definitely. But, to be honest, I love the digital darkroom more because it does not need so much overhead and room for storing film, devices, and prints.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sarah. After 198 LAPC challenges, I’m glad to hear you like the theme! That cyclist shot was a great surprise. Now, I’m trying more action pan shots on my Pixel phone. It’s fun experimenting. Your collection was a great example of the interplay and drama of light and shadow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love this topic. I am focusing on light and shadow this month for my blog so I shall have to see what I have this week. Love the pan action shot, it looks as though the trees are moving towards you! The cyclist looks a bit nervous!

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    • Hi, Miriam. Wonderful! I’m delighted you like the theme. I was so happy with the cyclist shot. I didn’t expect it to come out like that! Thanks, as always, for your thoughts!

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    • Hi, Tish. Many thanks! Wow. You know how to make me smile! The cyclist was a wonderful happenstance–I was experimenting with the action pan and I spotted him in the distance. I love when those happy coincidences happen! Your collection makes me want to travel to your area. Just beautiful.

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  2. Great topic Patti! My favorites are the coat rack gal and the cyclist. I prefer the black and white of the cyclist because it does show the contrast more. I’ll work on mine later! Can’t wait to dig into the archives.

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    • Hi, Anne. Wonderful! I’m delighted you like the images and the topic. I agree about the cyclist. Black and white is my preference, too. I’m looking forward to your post. 😀

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  3. Love the theme – well thought out! Love your images and monochrome examples. I must gree about that last one – envigorating and smart with the slider. I’ll see what I can find…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry about your lost coffee and forgotten camera, but I enjoyed your post! 😀😀 The cyclist was a happy experiment and the common area living room was on the top floor of a skyscraper so it was flooded with light. I loved the view, too. Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Anne! The cyclist was a lucky shot. I had no idea how it would turn out. I was just experimenting. Don’t you love those times when you get lucky?? 😀😀😀.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, SH. That room with the chairs was flooded with light because of all the windows. I’m glad you enjoyed that one. I’ll look at yours next.

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    • Hi, Beth. Thank you so much!! 😀😀. Wonderful to hear your thoughts and your compliments. You made my day. So you like both the color and the b/w. I am curious to see what everyone prefers. I hope you can join us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. It’s so true that light and shadow enhance and dramatize the shot. I was hoping you’d ask about my camera–the Google Pixel 6. 😀 😀 I’m still experimenting with the features. It has a primary and wide angle lens and the ability to shoot motion blur and long exposures. I highly recommend it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Normally, I try not to ask about the camera an artist uses as it’s similar to asking an artist what kind of brush they use, (like buying that brush would give me the same talent.) However, you brought up the special feature… >grin<

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  4. Loved your challenge this week Patti, and expect some wonderful responses. Also, loved the color and B&W versions of the cyclist – cannot believe it’s an iPhone image!! Terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was shocked at how the cyclist came out on my Pixel phone!! I’m having fun experimenting with this feature. I’m delighted with the response to this challenge. 😀. I loved your collection this week, too. Beautiful images!

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  5. That’s a wonderful challenge for any photographer, and your illustrative photos are equally wonderful. In the first photo I like the emphasis that the golden light places on the brand, leaving the employees in the shadow; quite a statement that photo makes. The next two photos are also so lovely, with the whole three-dimensionality of the subjects illustrated by the shadows; I like that the reflected light fills in the shadows so that they are not totally dark. That last one is fun. I wonder whether my phone gives me that mode.

    Seeking shade in summer’s heat

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    • Hi, Sylvia. The biker seems to be the favorite this week! I really believe it was beginner’s luck!! I’ll be experimenting for a while. 😀😀😀. Glad you joined us. Enjoy the weekend, too.

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