Still Learning To See

An edge of “not light”

If light is essential to a good photograph, I find the absence of light, or shadow, to be equally powerful. When I’m photographing in diffuse light, shadows are less a concern, of course, but I also love “breaking the rules” (who made these!) to work in full sunlight, rich with shadows. While the resulting high contrast can certainly be challenging, I love the way my eyes adjust and just let some areas fall nearly—or completely—into darkness.

When I saw this large, dark hole along the magnificent clay cliffs of Gay Head on Martha’s Vineyard, my first thought was “I wonder what is inside?” Not being able to see inside Mother Earth, of course, piqued my curiosity, made for an instant mystery!

MV-0741This morning as I looked back over and worked with some of the many other images I made that day, I became intrigued with shadows, especially in light of my post yesterday about how an edge of light could be defining. For instance, I found these gentle curves of textured stone against the dark shadow particularly beautiful.

MV-0682And then a whole gallery of images unfolded—I should have seen this coming—all made on a day of high, bright sun, deep shadows and these rich earthy tones. Each helps me better see the possibilities of using shadow to create structure in the abstract images and to add a tension of interest between the clay and the shadow. (Again, if you click on any of the images in this gallery, you’ll see much greater detail and be able to easily scroll among them all.)

This entry was published on September 21, 2014 at 9:27 am. It’s filed under Abstract, John Snell, Patterns, Photograph, Stone and rocks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “An edge of “not light”

  1. Ah, even in the light and shadow of photography, the idea of yin/yang is at work. Thanks for these wonderful images–I had no idea that such strong colors of rock could be found outside of Utah and other Western states.

  2. Yes, they are marvelous colors. Not so much rock as clay. Erosion over the past few years had caused a good deal of change, but they are still beautiful.

  3. Kate Conway on said:

    Hi John. I particularly like the composition of the second large photo…beautiful!

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