Project 2: Shadows

August seems to have been a month of continuous cloud cover and diffuse light. Hard-edged shadows have been hard to come by, so I finally decided to head into the deep woods on Box Hill to find some lighting contrasts.

There are few clearly defined shadows here, so I have tried to bring out the feeling of being in deeply shaded woodland by incorporating a wide range of light.  In particular, I have attempted to show bright highlights from the sky, midtones in interesting shapes, and pools of darkness in which a few details can still be seen.

All these shots required the use of a tripod, with exposures ranging from 1″ to 6″ at f/22 and ISO100.  The RAW images have been developed with some use of ND gradients and subtle (I hope!) dodging and burning to remove distracting elements.

7 thoughts on “Project 2: Shadows

  1. I can imagine the excitement Mike. 🙂 I think it was a great idea for you to head to the woods. The woods offer such great photo ops for reflection and shadows, along with the mystery that only they can offer. I like the larger than life perspectives that you have taken giving them a brooding and intimidating look, yet the highlights and colour give it the ray of hope and light. I like the interesting mix of two that you have produced here. It seems like a pre production location hunt. Maybe you should consider this as a stage for your next assignment – portraits. I think its a great setting. 4,5 & 6 are my favourites. Bets wishes.


  2. You have some really good photos there Mike. I particularly like the swing with the tree trunk as it’s frame. The space to the side of it, hemmed in by trees is super. It’s a photo with a strong narrative. It reminds me of childhood adventures, the smell of moss and bark.

    In photo four your mention the background being cluttered. You could use the burn tool in lightroom or photoshop to darken the background, which will remove a touch of the clutter.

    It’s rewarding completing a brief isn’t it. I like the warmth in your highlights as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing these lovely images. I especially like the shot of the yew in number 4. I see you plan to return to this location. I think that would be great, I am already imagining autumn!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Mike. I have a fondness for trees and so perhaps at bit biased. I liked your approach to this exercise and despite the gloomy cloud-covered August we’ve had you created some good images. Interesting though, and contrasting with Richard,I thought the rope looked somewhat menacing…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mike, in shot one you mention the space between the trees. I remember early in the course work was the bit about framing and points of interest. One of the photos that caught my attention (I think by Saul Leitner) was of one of the points of interest actually disappearing out of the frame, and with a big space between that and the other point of interest. In your photo I wonder what it would have looked like if you had created even more space between the darker tree in the foreground and the brighter lit tree in the background. Might be worth an experiment? Really like the atmosphere in your photos.

    Cheers, David.


    1. Thanks David, that’s an interesting suggestion. I can envisage a composition where that lit trunk is at the far right, with shadows gradually deepening across a relatively bare mid ground and the yews just about visible on the left in the gloom. I’m lucky to have this location, and many similar, right on my doorstep so I’ll certainly go back again.


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