Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Shadows

This week, Tina Schell challenges us to think about shadows as a subject for our photos. She shares several examples where the shadow of an object surely is the subject of the image. The subjects she chose to share are great examples that stand alone as a focal point. You can view those images here. Looking through my own gallery of images, I could see that I had zero examples where I focused upon the shadow of an object as the subject of my photo. As a result, in my usual fashion, I’m going to twist the challenge to fit my library.

In the opening image, the shadows on the beach add a certain drama to the image of two people walking along the shore. The shadows create a silhouette of the subjects as the camera’s exposure was set for the large amount of blue sky and ocean in the background. Both the shoreline and the forward edge of the shadows act as leading lines drawing our eyes to the subjects walking along the beach.

In my world of landscape photographs, in most cases, I’ve used shadows to help set a tone to the image as in the example above where I set the exposure to underexpose the islands so that the light rays shining through the clouds became the subject. With a normal exposure, the image loses the large shadowy areas and creates an entirely different tone.

For my final example in this week’s challenge, I am sharing again one of my favorite images, Paria Viewpoint at Bryce Canyon. The varied thickness of clouds created a subtle shift in available light throughout the scene. On a fully overcast or a completely sunny sky, the image would be quite different.

Thank you, Tina, for making me stretch and thinking about light and shadow and how I have used it in my images to create a mood. OK, so I’m not sure that it exactly met this week’s challenge theme… but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

John Steiner


  1. Great beach pic!! I feel this one especially addressed the challenge. The shadows add an eerie effect as if foreshadowing what could be an grisly outcome around the corner… Or maybe not, maybe there’s a 7-11 there & they got a coupon for a free big gulp. Either way, well done.

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