5 Tips For Having Fun With Shadows:
Silhouettes offer another opportunity to use shadows. A silhouette is a shadow—an
unlit subject. Thus, silhouettes work best when the subject is readily identifiable
by its shape; subjects primarily noted for their texture or detail are not good
choices for silhouettes.
Bird watchers will immediately recognize these silhouettes as great-tailed grackles,
by their shapes and poses. Others might simply enjoy the overall picture.
#5: Leading Lines
Shooting outdoors early or late in the day, you can use the long shadows produced
by the low-angle sun to lead the viewer’s eye into the photo.
Shadows extending toward the camera can create leading lines, too.
Shadows are more than just black blobs that mimic the shapes of things casting
them. At the center, known as the umbra, the shadow is very dark indeed. But
at the edges is a lighter, softer-edged area called the penumbra. When conditions
are right, you can record this in a photograph of the shadow. (If the light
source creating the shadow is a true point source, there will be no penumbra.
But few true point light sources exist in our daily lives.)
Soft Vs. Hard Light
Soft light is produced by light sources that are large relative to the size
of the subject, such as an overcast sky. Hard light is produced by light sources
that are small compared to the size of the subject, such as direct electronic
flash. The sun is huge, but so far from the Earth that it acts as a hard light
source. Hard light produces the best shadows for photos.
Outdoors, the lower the sun is in the sky, the longer the shadows objects here
on Earth will cast. A six-foot person will cast a six-foot shadow when the sun
is at a 45° angle to it. When the sun is lower in the sky, the shadow will
be longer; when the sun is nearly overhead, the shadow will be very short.
The closer the object casting the shadow is to the surface upon which it is
casting the shadow, the sharper the shadow will be. An airplane flying high
overhead will cast a shadow so fuzzy you might not even notice it, while an
object just a foot above the ground will cast a very sharp shadow.