I love taking pictures and often share some of them on Facebook. After a recent photo post, a friend jokingly commented, “I’m enjoying your shadow phase.” Until she wrote that, I hadn’t realized that I had taken quite a few shadow pictures lately. In the past few weeks, there has been a definite shadow theme running through my photos. Once I realized this, I found myself thinking about shadows a lot. As I took pictures or looked over ones I’d previously taken, I realized something: While I typically think of shadows as hiding things, most of the shadows in my photos reveal things rather than conceal them.
A week or so ago, I visited my Dad and stepmother in Ohio. We spent a lot of time sitting on their back deck, chatting and enjoying the beautiful weather. One afternoon I noticed this whimsical shadow garden. I loved the look of the mixed echinacea and black-eyed susan shadows. When the warm breeze blew, they danced on the patterned brick.
I enjoy walking and hiking in the woods and there’s almost always some dramatic light play at work. There’s the dappled shadow quality that polka-dots the forest floor, or the stream of light rays filtering through tree branches, or intense single rays that highlight patches on the ground. In this picture I love how the sun painted the shadow of this plant onto its leaf. It highlights the blossom, but also draws your eye to the intricate veins of the leaf.
On another recent walk, a beam of light cast a fern shadow on a tree trunk. Without that shadow, I doubt I would have noticed the fern or the deep crevices in the textured tree bark.
Soon afterward, I noticed more fern shadows on the side of our barn. Again, the interplay between the sun-lit background texture and shadow intrigues me.
In this picture, I love how the petals of a simple marigold cast shadows, adding depth and texture. There are also the added shadows of a vine-y plant wallpapering the metal planter behind the blossom, enhancing the background.
It’s berry time in Maine and there are many, many blackberry bushes around my house. Each year we harvest them to make blackberry jam, jelly or baked goodies. On my first harvest this year, I found this little hitchhiker. I love the elongated berry shadow and how the insect’s shadow bugwalked on my counter. The ambiguous background shadows somehow add intensity or mystery to the scene.
On sunny afternoons, the sunlight streams through the windows of our home, casting shadows onto the old pine floors. The floors glow so richly, striped with window pane shadows. I’m not the only one who enjoys the sun and shadow interplay. Millie, my daughter’s cat, couldn’t resist the lure, and her shadow added to the fun.
And even though this post is about shadows, Valerie Worth’s poem “sun” is the perfect, irresistible caption to this photo.
Is a leaping fire
To go near,
But it will still
In warm yellow squares
On the floor
Like a flat
The cat can curl
So, what do you notice about the shadows in your world? Are they revealing or concealing? Whimsical or threatening? Mysterious or illuminating? Once you start paying attention to them, you’ll notice shadows everywhere.
On a side note, it seems especially apt to post this today with a solar eclipse, the mother of all shadows, due to occur. When you’re not looking up, be sure to look on the ground and see what other interesting shadows appear.