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A Shadow World E-mail
(7 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Thursday, 19 November 2009 08:33
Assignment Number Twenty-Three
Shadows will destroy many pictures before you learn to see them. Human perceptive organs are so good at editing the shadows out of our everyday world that we are often shocked to notice them marring our images after the shooting is over. With time, photographers naturally adapt, taking shadow detail into consideration whenever composing.

This exercise is designed to hasten the development of that sensitivity by having you look specifically for usable shadows in your picture-making efforts. Becoming aware of and editing out unwanted shadows will eventually become second nature. Head out into the community and observe how shadows fit into the landscape. Look for opportunities to enhance your photos by selectively including elements of shadow.

Early morning and late evening shadows are often enhanced by elongation and the attractive colours associated with the rising and setting of the sun. Midday shadows are often short, stubby and more challenging to work with.

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Throngs of onlookers cluttering up the background hampered efforts to shoot Vancouver's Celtic Festival. Shifting paradigms, I sought other ways to capture the spirit of a Celtic dancer. Here, shadow and silhouette are used to eliminate all complex detail in both subject and background, creating a simple and highly graphic expression.

Click Image to Zoom

I love racing the shadow of my bicycle and have often thought about photographing it when out for a burn. Though I haven't succeeded, this is one of my best efforts to date. Surprisingly dangerous at high speeds, I've concluded that I really need to develop a special harness to get the shot.

Click Image to Zoom

When I noticed this shadow I quickly grabbed my camera, knowing that this would be the last photo of my pal of 16 years, Neko, who was scheduled for euthanization the next day. His waning health and imminent demise were very much at the forefront of my mind and the shadows seemed to speak eloquently, as did the sparkle in his eye.

Click Image to Zoom

A gap in the shadows of a tall bamboo hedge work well to light this aged supplicant from the side as she struggles up a slope at Kyoto's Tofukuji Temple complex. Shadows provide a contrasting backdrop that effectively eliminates distracting detail from the entire scene.

All photographs were taken by Brian Grover. To browse more images visit my photo gallery here: Brian Grover Photography.


If you find these assignments useful, Tell a Friend or Share them on Facebook, Twitter or other Social Bookmarking sites.

In addition to viewing these assignments online, you can subscribe, having them delivered to your e-mail account on a biweekly basis over the course of an entire year. Subscribing helps to give you regular reminders and motivation to get out and shoot. To subscribe read the Introduction.


Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
The graphical images and content hosted at are viewable for private use only. All other rights - including, but not limited to, distribution, duplication, and publication by any means - are the exclusive property of Brian Grover and Whisky-Jack Communications. International law provides criminal and civil penalties for those found to be in violation.

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