Contrast and shadow fill and concentrating light

One of the things that interests me about some of the photographs in the recommended text, particularly with those photographers who photograph people, is how they use the shadows to produce interest.  So although in this exercise the idea seems to be to ‘fill’ the harsh shadows, shadows per se are not always a bad thing.

The setting for this activity was a still life and before  I started I went back to look at some of the work of Giles Angel, whose work I reviewed early on in the course and as I recall at that stage,  couldn’t see the point of it.  I must say I have changed my mind.  I still can’t see me taking pictures of a television set or a pile of paperclips, but I can appreciate the techniques he uses and what he achieves.  This time I was looking particularly at the lighting and the shadows and it does seem to me that a lot of the lighting comes from above and that the shadows are strictly controlled.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to copy any of this work for this blog, but it can be seen at work/2/thumbs

The setting for this exercise was still life and I tried to create something that has texture, shape and colour.  I followed the guidance religiously for once but was a little disappointed with the results, mainly because although I had checked the exposure, the colours weren’t quite right.

Gold reflector used for this image

I think this was probably down to the fact that I used the auto white balance and I needed to experiment to see what worked best with the desk lamp I used to light the subject.  There was not a huge amount of difference between the shots where the diffuser had been used, I preferred those where a silver reflector had been used to the white and finally I took a picture where I used a gold reflector and that produced an even softer light.

Light concentrated on the front of the image

In order to concentrate the light in just one part of the image, I used a dark card over part of the lens as suggested.  I could see before I took the picture which bit was lit and which would be in shadow but it was still a case of trial and error to see what worked best.  I used the same setting as for the previous exercise so that I could compare results and really liked the outcome which I felt worked particularly well with the candle.  Of all of the photographs I took of this setting this was my favourite.  All I need to do now is sort out the white balance so that the colours of the scarf and jewellery are sorted out.


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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