Lens-Artists Challenge #198 – Light and Shadow

Whales, fountain, lights
Whales’ Tails

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject – that is the essence of expression and art through photography.”

Scott Bourne

This week Patti challenges us to explore the mysteries of light and shadow. Photographers are always looking for just the right light and when it happens it’s a bit of magic. Shadow can be thought of as the absence of light, or perhaps a different quality of light. In today’s opening image I’ve featured a fountain I saw outside a hotel that shows an effective use of artificial light and shadow to highlight whale tails – a major draw for tourists in the area.

shadow, bridge, solitary man

“I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself – mysterious and ever changing light with its accompanying shadows rich and full of mystery.”

Edward Steichen

The image above is one of my favorites which I’ve posted before. I was with friends shooting whales in San Francisco Bay and on the walk back to our car I took a side path to shoot the bridge. As I pointed my lens into the structure I happened across a man walking under it and quickly grabbed the shot. I loved the dramatic shadows and the solitary man who added a touch of mystery to the image.

lightning, clouds
Nature’s Light Show

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”

August Sander

Never one to be outdone, Mother Nature shows us the power of her own artistry – lightning – breaking through the clouds and illuminating the late day shadows. These days photographers use sophisticated timers to photograph lightning but my image above was the result of pure patience and a once more, a bit of luck.

boat, night, city lights, color
Phantom Ship

“The organization of light and shadow effects produce a new enrichment of vision.”

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Again highlighting artificial light, I’ve included the image above of a ship as it passed the bright lights of Hong Kong. I loved the way the motion of the ship moving past the city turned it into something of a phantom.

Red roofs, tile rooms, evening light, artificial light
Lights On

“Photography is a literature of light.”

Moses Oliver

My image above is an example of the “blue hour”, a special time of the evening when the light has not quite fully faded – rather the opposite end of the “golden hour” spectrum in the morning. I loved the combination of the blue hour sky, the early-on yellow lights within the homes and the red tile roofs of Dubrovnik. The image was captured from my hotel window early one evening during our visit.

mountains, B&W, Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Torres del Paine, Patagonia

“Our job is to record this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”

Edward Abbey

I loved Edward Abbey’s quote above as I believe it truly describes the magic of photography. I’m closing today’s post with two images that are reminders some personal magic moments. Above, a favorite image of Patagonia’s majestic Torres del Paine. I felt B&W better conveyed the power of these glorious peaks. At the opposite end of the spectrum, my image below shows a simple moment of humanity – a worker taking a much-needed rest during our visit to Vietnam. In both cases, light and shadow are at play in creating a memorable moment.

Moment of Rest

Sincere thanks to Patti for the opportunity to explore the magic of light and shadow. We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to my Rule of Thirds challenge last week. It was terrific seeing your thoughts and images that both followed and broke the “rule”. We hope you’ll be with us next week when Ann-Christine leads our challenge. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists Challenge? Click here for more information.


116 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #198 – Light and Shadow

  1. Gorgeous photos and beautifully written this article to read, awesome ocean, lovely view of nature and inspiring buildings , thank you for sharing

  2. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-198-LIght-and-Shadow – WoollyMuses

  3. This post has to be one of your finest. I can’t even think of which photo is my favorite: they’re all top-notch. The second one has drama, the ghostly blue boat is a mystery, and the lightning — well, nature’s magic and your patience make it a great one as well. Excellent examples for the challenge!

  4. Your photos are always exceptional and inspiring. This week, you could have just stopped with that first photo because I honestly couldn’t concentrate on anything else. That is one truly amazing photo. Wow! That’s a 15 on a scale of 1-10.

  5. These set of light and shadow images are remarkable, Tina. The Whalesโ€™ Tails is a great capture! The Phantom Ship, a breathtaking shot…
    The last one is my favorite.

  6. Edward Abbey is right, a light situation never comes back. So, do it now or the moment is gone. I love your sleeping lady from the first sight, the solitary man needed a bit longer. Whatโ€™s the first one? A fountain shaped like the fins of 2 humpback whales?

    • Hi Andre – the first image is indeed a fountain with 2 whale fins. It was at a beautiful hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We also saw many of the real thing during a sunset sail nearby that is among my favorite travel memories. The sleeping woman was very lucky timing as she was on a short break from her difficult job.

      • During the Cabo sail we saw a very small rubber dinghy with a 10HP motor, 2 tourists and a fellow driving the boat. Suddenly a humongous humpback whale surfaced about 10 feet behind the boat. He could easily have capsized the boat and the look of surprise and terror on the boat’s pilot was a sight to see!!! I’d have loved to have my camera on them at that moment!! Fortunately they survived the encounter and went home with quite a story to tell!

  7. An absolutely excellent set of images Tina! I love the one you called Solitary, the Torres del Paine (I agree, B&W is very effective), the Phantom Ship and most of all that last one of the worker in Vietnam – fantastic shot!

  8. I saved this to come back to and enjoy. Sometimes we dip in and gone, but this is too beautiful, Tina. You had me with the whales’ tales- where was that?- but the sharpness of the man’s shadow amid the softer lines of the bridge creates such drama. And then that poor, tired lady. I felt for her!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment Jo. The whale fountain was at a lovely resort in Mexico, where we also were fortunate to see several of the real thing during a sunset sail in the area. A very fond memory. Both the bridge image and the napping woman are among my all-time favorites and it was nice to have an opportunity to post them.

  9. HA! The whale tails fooled me for a sec. I wondered, where did you see WHALES like THAT?!?! Fool me once… Love the ghost ship and the lightning too. All great selections.

    • HA indeed John – they did look real didn’t they?! The statue was at a beautiful resort in Mexico, where we also did a whale watching sail and saw some real ones as well. One giant humpback came up about 5 feet behind a very small dinghy with a young couple and scared the bejeesus out of all of us LOL.

  10. Those whale tails.. they’re really quite something! A lovely feature, and one where you’ve captured the whole flow and form so well Tina!

  11. As always your photo are marvelous! Capturing that lightening strike was a serendipity! Your selection of quotes is also so apropos for these photos and this challenge.

    • Thanks Anne – I remember working really hard to capture that lightning strike. One keeper among many throw-aways LOL. I was happy to find the quotes as well so thank you for mentioning them.

  12. Amazing – especially that nature light show image – wow. I also especially like the final image.

    • Thanks Karina – that last was truly a moment in time. That poor woman was totally exhausted. I almost felt guilty taking her photo but was glad in the end that I did. She didn’t wake up when I clicked the shutter!

  13. Pure artistry in this post, Tina! These are all beyond stunning! I uttered a “wow” out loud at the shot of Patagonia, my word! I have to agree with Patti! You’ve outdone yourself, my friend. The lightning image is amazing, too. I hope you’re having a wonderful Mother’s Day and have a great week!

    • You’re a doll Terri – many thanks for the lovely comment. It’s hard not to WOW at Patagonia – trust me, we did it over and over again!! I must admit I did love that image ๐Ÿ˜Š

  14. Amazing, Tina – as always! The man and the bridge should have been a film noir movie. The lighting is incredible…I could go on and on.

  15. The whales’ tales is such an interesting shot because it seems to me it could be something else completely, something otherworldly with wings. The other two shots that got my special attention are the lightning and the phantom ship. The colors in the latter shot are marvelous.

  16. Great lightning shot there Tina and I do like the worker photograph. Such an intimate portrait. However, the ‘blue’ hour and the ‘golden’ hour both appear at sunrise and sunset, just at the times when the light is cooler or warmer. Sorry for being such a pedant! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks Jude – some favorite moments for me. As for being pedantic, while it is true both qualities of light happen at both times, specifically in photographic terms there is only one definition for each. Is that true only in the U.S.???

      • From the Nikon website:
        “In the morning, blue hour occurs just before golden hour at the beginning of civil twilight, which is around 30 minutes before the sun rises. In the evening, it occurs at the end of the civil twilight, just after the golden hour and starts roughly 10 to 15 minutes after the sun has set.”

    • I’m with you on that LOL. They now have lightning “traps” that go off when it strikes but trial and error also work. I threw many away before catching that one!

      • Traps?!?! I have a Sony camera that I have had for a long time. It still works and the comparable models now are pretty. expensive. Sometimes I get it out and get some great photos but it is a lot of work and I miss a lot because I don’t completely know how to use it. When I use a tripod and focus on something, like I used to with certain birds and such, the pictures came out phenomenal.

  17. Your images reek of drama! I expect there will be lots of drama in the shadows. I love “Solitary” and the peaks of Patagonia, but that ghost ship is so mysterious and so colorful.

  18. Wow, Tina. This is quite a collection of stunning images! One is more remarkable than the next. I especially love the moodiness and drama of the man under the bridge and the woman sleeping and the blue hour image and …..๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€. You’re going to get wonderful reactions to this set.

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