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The Shadow Is the Subject

August 17, 2010
Aquamarine Shadow, Abraham Lake

Aquamarine Shadow, Abraham Lake

Things have been busy! In the spare time from the day job, I’ve been doing some writing and catching up on cataloging. I’ve also been doing some location scouting and other prep work for the coming Fall 2010 Canadian Rockies Photo Tour. (Spaces are still available for the tour, by the way.)

While taking in the scenery around Aurum Lodge on a scouting visit, I was standing on a low rocky crest in late afternoon light, overlooking the stunning blue-green waters of Lake Abraham. I never tire of this color in the mountain lakes… far more than clear water, this glacial coloring seems to me like the chromatic embodiment of freshness and purity.

I was looking down at my shadow dancing in the ripples of the lake waters, and thought of the saying I most recently saw posted by Charles Glatzer — “light illuminates, shadow defines.” What if the shadow doesn’t just define the subject, but is the whole subject? I took a position on a craggy stretch of the rocks, pulled out my pocket camera (a Panasonic LX3), and captured an image of my shadow self over the water. Pay attention to shadows… including your own!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David "I have no eye for art" permalink
    August 17, 2010 20:11

    A curious photo. Delete your shadow from this photo (sorry, Royce) and you have a photo simulating an Impressionist painting. The light playing on the waves is what draws me to this photo. The shadow adds a point of interest or relief from the green-blues, perhaps.
    I do expect to see a fish jumping out of the water, though. Don’t you?

  2. August 18, 2010 13:09

    Well said, as usual, Royce. While I hadn’t thought about it in exactly these words, one of my favorite self-portraits also uses shadow as one of the main subjects in the image (here).

    Its definitely good advice to always pay attention to shadow, as it can define an image.


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