Lens-Artists Challenge #235 – Monochrome Shadows & Reflections

shadows, man, B&W, Bridge
Into The Shadows

“When Small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.”

Lin Yutang

This week Patti has given us a double (or even triple) challenge – shadows/reflections/monochrome. She does a terrific job of explaining our options in her original post. I’ve taken her quite literally and have done some experimenting with a number of my images this week. However, my opener is an all-time favorite which I suppose many of you have seen before. I captured the man in the shadows standing under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The dichotomy was stunning as I’d just left the brilliant sunshine where I’d been photographing some rare whales that came in to feed in the waters below. I wanted some images of the bridge’s structure and when I walked a bit closer I was drawn to the shadows first, only to come upon the man completely by chance. We all have our favorites in our portfolio of images, but this one always makes my top 5. I thought it perfect for this week’s challenge as it is only truly effective in B&W which of course adds to its mystery and “film noir” feel.

shadow, golf cart, bunker
Guess What!

“Without the past to cast its long shadow, might you see the future more clearly?”

Diane Setterfield

Well, I suppose from the sublime to the ridiculous as they say! I was on an assignment photographing a golf tournament and saw myself within the shadow of my golf cart and thought it made a fun image. Note the rake in the upper left corner, which tells you the shadow is within a bunker while fortunately for them, the golfers were not!

But enough of life in the shadows – let’s see some reflections! Below you’ll recognize one of my favorite spots on Kiawah, a reflection you’ve seen on my blog more than once in all kinds of weather and various times of day. However I believe this is the first time I’ve tried it in monochrome. I love the many usual colors of the scene, typically stunning blues and greens, often with pink sweetgrasses blowing in the wind, once in a great while with the whites of ice or snow. I must admit after adjusting the scene to a rich sepia, I rather liked the result. What do you think?

reflection, sepia, palmettos, pond, Kiawah
Reflecting On One Of My Favorite Spots

 “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” 

Ernest Holmes

On the other side of the world, an image that once again featured rich, beautiful colors as well as a wonderful sunset. Captured during our visit to China, I’ll admit I prefer the original, but I also liked this interpretation. To me it seems rather like a sketch the architect might have made as he or she was designing the original scene. My choice of blue further reinforced my thoughts of a pen and ink drawing.

blue, sketch, pagoda, China
Pagoda Sketch in Inky Blue

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience which is bitterest.”


Back on Kiawah, another image I’ve posted previously comes to mind when considering reflections, especially in monochrome. The scene was very cluttered with leaves and branches and chaotic greens and browns. Removing the colors and choosing the purity of white for me made this a more interesting image.

high key, plants, water, kiawah
High Key Interpretation

“Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours.”

Jane Austen

The quote above mentions “solitary hours” which brought to mind the image below. Like the one above, for me this scene is more compelling in monochrome than in its original color version.

heron, alone

“Being solitary isn’t a disease that needs a cure.”

Natasha Pulley

I’ll close this week with an image I enjoyed in color for the vibrance of the subjects, but I also liked this new version, which feels a bit like a vintage postcard to me.

sailboats, vintage, monochrome
All Aboard

“You don’t command wind in the direction it blows, but you command a ship in the direction it sails.”

Mashona Dhliwayo

A big thanks to Patti for her interesting challenge this week, which had me revisiting a few of my favorites as well as creating some new versions. Be sure to visit her beautiful original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag in your response to help us find you. Thanks also to Donna for her wonderful Messages challenge last week, and to all of those who joined us with so many terrific responses. Amy will lead us next week so be sure to visit her Share and Connect site then. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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


112 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #235 – Monochrome Shadows & Reflections

  1. These are some incredible photos, Tina, which is no surprise as it is what you do 🙂 Your opening shot, again, sets the tone of this post so well. The photos you’ve chosen, and the processing of these into monochrome or sepia, give such a surreal feel, and I love them. Kiawah in sepia is rich in nostalgia, and my other favorite is the pagoda’s excellent blue-tinted “sketch.” Beautiful. Part of my surreal feeling is you started with a quote I had never heard before (which is no surprise, as there are many quotes out there), but it is a compelling quote: “When Small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.” ~ Lin Yutang. Those words created a very shadowy, forlorn feeling because your beautiful, nostalgic photos made me think about the idealistic younger days, which is in contrast to today’s world politics, and a more ‘mature’ view of the world now :-)! Wishing you well ~

  2. WOW these r fantastic….LOVE the mystery of the shadows & reflections truly mind-blowing …palm trees spectacular!!U have such a great eye for these details!!

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