#loving shadows

Shadow Seeker

Looking up “sunseeker” in google results in more than 7 million hits - products ranging from luxury yachts to bikinis. Now try the same with “shadowseeker". This gets you only slightly over 50k measly hits, less than 1% of the former - and then most of those are related to the shady world of pc gaming … Strange. Seems that the word “shadows” has a kinda negative connotation, while “sun” elicits a more positive association in people. Not so in photography. Here it’s the shadows which make or break the image, please read on if interested!

Sun’s reflections illuminate the dark background façade: X-H1 with XF35mm F/1.4, @F/8, 1/200 sec, ISO 200

Like in the image above: The sun’s reflections from windows across the courtyard cast the only light onto the dark shadows on the façade in the background, giving the image an interesting accent and balance vs. the bright graffitis on the wall in the foreground (of course I had to help a bit with curves & levels ;-). The long rays of the low evening sun sculpt out each texture on the building’s surfaces they skim by, painting long shadows after each protrusion. It’s the resulting shadows which tell the story. Without them the image would be flat & lifeless!

A few steps right: Long, low shadows uncover every detail, X-H1 with XF35mm F/1.4, @F/8, 1/125 sec, ISO 200

That’s why I like to see myself as a “Shadow Seeker”, always on the look-out for those non-substantial areas of darkness which manifest the existence of light! It’s only a few minutes before the sun sets that you get to capture such images, but then there are unlimited opportunities within a few steps of each other. See the image above, taken from a few steps to the right! Or the one below, where the lantern outside the frame is manifested only by its shadow:

Shadows bring to light the lantern that wasn’t there: X-H1 with XF35mm F/1.4, @F/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 200

Those of youse who’ve had the patience to follow my ramblings up to here may be asking themselves why I always keep using Fuji´s XF35mm F/1.4R lens. Because its got magic inside! This lens finds the images most people would oversee, long enough to focus on the essential part of the image but not to short to include too much into the frame! It’s the ideal lens for finding patterns and carving out details out of the bigger picture. Properly applied it helps you to select the important part of the scene, focusing your view on the essential message!

Also here a pattern of shadows makes the image: X-H1 with XF35mm F/1.4, @F/8, 1/500 sec, ISO 200

I was attracted to the above scene because of the pattern of shadows on the white wall - again an example of shadows creating an image which normally wouldn’t have been there …

For your information: All images in this post were developed using Capture One Pro 12. I´ll be happy to share my favorite settings & work-flow in a future post, please leave me a message on my “about” page or in the comments section below if you’re interested!

I hope this post was inspiring to you, animating you to go out and search for the shadows, which show you that light exists. Wish you great images and a good Sunday evening. All the best, your

Hendrik

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