Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

February 18, 2009

Light and Shadow define Form

Filed under: composition, favorite places, light, Non Birds — richditch @ 5:53 pm
Saguaro in Bloom, Desert Botanical Gardens

Saguaro in Bloom, Desert Botanical Gardens

Photography is really all about light. Light illuminates the subject. Directional light creates shadows, and shadows define Form that give the subject a three dimensional appearance.

It is the light and shadow that attracted me to this simple subject – a Saguaro cactus with a couple of flowers in bloom. I like the way the shadows give shape tot he unopened buds, allowing objects of the same shade of green to appear separate from each other where they overlap. I also like how the shadows define the recessed areas between the ribs of the cactus, and how these shadows show off the needles that are catching the light. The progression of shadows in this area, growing more pronounced from left to right, inform the viewer that the main trunk of the cactus is curved and increasing the sense of dimension in the subject.

Finally, I like the way the open white flowers appear to be “reaching out” for the morning light, casting their shadows to the right.

Compositionally, this is a simple image. It has only a few colors to define major parts of the image: the blue sky background; the white blossoms, the bright greens of the buds; the greenish-yellow of the main trunk. The light defines the forms here and allows me to concentrate on the graphic qualities.

Taken with the Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S Nikkor lens with matching TC20E 2x converter, ISO 200, 1/250th at f/11, on May 2, 2007, at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. This is my standard bird setup, but I have no problems using it for any other subject I can fit into the frame.


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