Shadows are the Soul of your Images

Shadows are the Soul of Your Images as they give shape, mood, and depth to your photography. They must, however, be used creatively, and not left to chance or environment. One of the best ways to do this is with a single off-camera light, whether held in your hand or on a stand. When I use the term light, this can literally be ANY light: a studio light, camera flash, shop light from Home Depot or even a bare hanging bulb. It need not be fancy. There are various ways to trigger the strobes/camera flash, such as a cord connected to your camera or if using the same manufacturer of flash and camera, wirelessly. After you have your light source established, now it's time to shape the light. There are several types of light modifiers on the market that will suit your needs. Bouncing flash off a white ceiling produces much softer light, where a flashlight or "on camera" flash produces harder light. The idea is to experiment with everything. In this image II used a snoot opened up on the end to give the image more of a spotlight effect to emphasize the shadows. I recommend paying a visit to B&H Photo www.bhphotovideo. com, www.strobist.blogspot.com, or even www.YouTube.com. They all have tutorials and an abundance of information on photographic lighting. 20120827-094955.jpg

How a Concept Becomes an Image.

[caption id="attachment_1375" align="alignleft" width="940"] Vision on the Tracks[/caption] On our second to last day of vacation we were walking through the town of Dillsboro, North Carolina. Normally during my other summertime visits this is a bustling little tourist town with a number of shops, and a station for the Smoky Mountain Railway. On this visit it looked like a Ghost Town. That thought stuck in my head as I passed each closed shop and we found ourselves as the only people on the street. The girls needed to use the restroom, so I took them to the restrooms by the railroad track and waited for them outside. I stared at the tracks thinking of different types of images to make as my eyes followed the tracks toward the overpass where the tracks merge with another section creating an interesting design. The girls finally came out and started walking the track like a balance beam together toward the overpass while I snapped images of them. As they passed me and I was behind them I could imagine them standing on the tracks and the overpass framing them, with the intersecting tracks leading the viewer into the image. I made a bunch of images as they were balancing down the track and then I asked them if I could have some fun now and pose them after I let them walk down the tracks forever. They liked the idea and for the first few images I had them holding hands at the same intersection you see above, but facing away from me. Then I thought that it would make more sense if they were coming out of the tunnel made by the overpass. I made several iterations of that composition with arms down and up at a good distance away. I was happy with what I had and we left on our way back home. When I got home and started editing the remainder of the vacation images I spotted one and decided to tone it as a slightly dark Black & White image. As they image got darker the concept and feel of the image also got darker. I kept adjusting with some other tools until it actually started getting kind of frightening. I started thinking about the Ghost Town thoughts I had and the girls playing on the tracks. The thought came into my head to make them look like spirits from this Ghost Town. Maybe kids that were playing on the track at one time, were hit by a train, and now haunt the tracks. Too weird. Too bad, that's what was in my head. I kept making major and minor adjustments until I was satisfied I'd achieved that look. And here it is. I hope you like the image and the narrative of it's creation.

Making a simple image a little more interesting and dramatic!

Let It Be dancers from Dance Attack at the Diplomat Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. Taken by Ana with an iPhone 4S and manipulated in a couple of programs for effect. Now you don't need fancy computer programs to do this there are thousands of apps on your phone that can come pretty close. Search the app store for photography. [caption id="attachment_1336" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Let it be, Dance Attack,2012"][/caption]