Shadow Play

This month’s Picture This! assignment was Shadow Play, the role played by shadows in a photograph’s composition and, often, meaning. Shadows define form and shape, but they also can add an aura of mystery and intrigue, one where the recognizable subjects are altered by their presence. They can also be the subject of the image, and dominate the frame to create an abstract view of the world. Readers sent in images that accomplish all the above, with photos of people, places, and things that are enhanced by the sense of depth and space created by these light-formed elements.

Water Under The Bridge
Margret Hildreth transforms the pilings under a bridge in Pensacola, Florida, to an abstract study in form and line. She photographed with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 camera and an exposure of f/3.4 at 1/100 sec.
© Margret Hildreth

Thomas Johnson photographed his daughter Miranda so that we see a partial profile and a full silhouette, with the print having a near-solarized look. He worked with a Nikon D300s and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens and an exposure of f/5.6 at 1/50 sec at ISO 400.
© Thomas Johnson

Skateboard Shadow
Sean Langworth caught the skateboard with tonality yet created the action through shadow play, creating a surreal moment in time. Exposure with a Canon EOS 60D and an 18-55mm lens was f/8 at 1/4000 sec at ISO 1250.
© Sean Langworth

A footprint in the sand in Bandon, Oregon, is converted to a graphic form through the use of light direction to create a deep shadow in its furrows. Bill Witmer made the shot with a Canon EOS 50D and an EF 28-135mm lens. Exposure was f/8 at 1/60 sec at ISO 400.
© Bill Witmer

Front Deck
Steve Miller saw this swirl of light and shadow on a deck while on a cruise ship to Alaska. The pattern of light and dark seems to make it a “moving” picture. He made the shot with a Leica V-LUX 1 and converted it to black and white in Photoshop Elements.
© Steve Miller

Metaphysical Square
Marco Rocca referenced de Chirico, a surrealist painter who worked in the early 20th century, in this photo made in Apulia, Italy. (Readers are encouraged to Google de Chirico to see the work of a master shadow player.) Exposure with a Nikon D300 and a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens was f/16 at 1/250 sec.
© Marco Rocca

Shadows On The Pond
While many readers sent in monochrome images, Rich Hallen shows us that shadows transform color images as well, as in the subtle color play on this pond. He worked with a Nikon D600 and a Nikkor 28-200mm lens and an exposure of f/10 at 1/100 sec at ISO 800.
© Rich Hallen

This seeming monochrome image has one element of color—the coffee cup in front of the sitter. The rest is a play of form and cast shadow against a textured wall. Dennis Stroh made this photo with a Fujifilm XP “pocket” camera.
© Dennis Stroh

L.A. Office
Shadow play can come up at any time and any place, as in this office conference room somewhere in Los Angeles. You just have to keep your eyes open for it. That’s what Allan Katcher did when he made this photo with a Nikon COOLPIX 990 and an exposure of f/3.5 at 1/120 sec.
© Allan Katcher

Venice Fence Reflection
When you combine the transforming power of water reflections with the subtle mystery of shadows you’ll find some fanciful and fascinating images, as did Cynthia Cable who made the photo with a Canon PowerShot SD800 IS and an exposure of f/13 at 1/4 sec at ISO 800.
© Cynthia Cable

Light Play
Unique moments are captured when the time of day and direction of light and the point of view of the photographer combine to make an image that exploits both texture and form in the scene. Jim Mitchell made this photo in the Palouse area of Washington with a Nikon D300 and a Nikkor 70-200mm lens. Exposure was f/11 at 1/180 sec.
© Jim Mitchell

Shadow Portrait
How many times have you stepped out of the way when you saw your shadow in the frame? Portraits such as this one, made by Diane Schulman, can have a special meaning, and a touch of the mystical. She made this photo of herself and her husband on a trip to Maui with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens; exposure was f/5 at 1/250 sec.
© Diane Schulman

Tension And Compression
Photographer Ronald Zeytoonian wrote, “The interplay of structural elements, lighting and shadow intrigued me.” He made this photo of the airport ceiling in Shanghai with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and an EF 24-105mm lens with an exposure of f/5.6 at 1/50 sec at ISO 800.
© Ronald Zeytoonian

Shack Wall
The deep shadows are what anchor the space and balance of this photo made in Crown Point, Indiana, by Wiley E. Dummich. Exposure with a Nikon D3000 and a Nikkor 18-55mm lens was f/6.3 at 1/160 sec.
© Wiley E. Dummich

Crystal Shadows
The light fans out from these cylindrical glasses and throws spectral highlights and deep shadows on the kitchen counter where they sat. Will Hoskins made this image with a Canon EOS 5D and an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens and an exposure of f/11 at 1/30 sec.
© Will Hoskins

Important Notice
Picture This! Submissions Now Online

Beginning with next month’s Picture This! assignment we will only be accepting online submission of images. Please read the submission guidelines carefully.

Picture This! – Our Next Assignment

The compression effect of long telephoto lenses, referred to as stacking, makes subjects seem as if they have been shoved together and certainly creates the illusion that there is less space between them than we normally would perceive. We ’re looking for images that show this effect with sharpness near to far in a variety of scenes, from nature to cityscapes to even group portraits.

This photo was made from an overpass onto a bus parking lot, where it would seem there’s little room to maneuver. Exposure with a Canon EOS 5D and a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC lens (at 200mm) was f/11 at 1/125 sec at ISO 640.
© George Schaub

Update Notice For Online Submissions
We will start taking online submissions only for Picture This! for the February, 2014 issue assignment onwards, which means that the Twilight Time assignment should be submitted online. For those assignments remaining from previous issues, here are the topics and their due dates. Please send in prints for these assignments as usual.

• Sense of Scale: November 2013 issue publication; August 15, 2013 deadline.
• Going Around in Circles: December 2013 issue publication; September 15, 2013 deadline.
• Stacking: January 2014 issue publication; October 15, 2013 deadline.

How To Submit Online
Go to and register. Scroll down the page and on the right side you will see a box for entering your username and your password. If you have already registered and/or submitted images for the Galleries you can skip this step. Respond to the activation e-mail. Registration is free. You will use your username and password whenever you visit or, with some systems, it will automatically load for you when you visit

Check the assignment and closing dates in the magazine. When the magazine is printed we will create an appropriate gallery for your images. The limit is two images per assignment.

Select and prepare your images. We only accept files at a maximum 5MB size, JPEG format. Save the JPEG at a quality level of 10 or higher. Note that file size in your image folder directory will determine upload size, not the “opened” file size, as JPEG compresses at 1:4 at higher quality ratings. If your images do not load it probably means you have exceeded the file size or have not used JPEG format.

Click on the Galleries tab on the homepage. In the Category section use the drop-down menu to select the Picture This! assignment. Note that images are simultaneously loaded into the assignment category as well as your own personal gallery. When the Picture This! assignment deadline date has lapsed the assignment gallery will be removed, but your images will still reside in your own gallery.

In the Description box add title, camera, lens, exposure information, and your full name. Also add any other comments or anecdotes you think relevant. We reserve the right to edit comments as needed.

Click the Save button at the bottom of the page. This uploads the image.

You retain copyright on the image.

We will choose the images after close of the due date.

Please feel free to comment on images submitted by other readers.

Send your image and information to:
Picture This! Shutterbug Magazine,
1415 Chaffee Dr., Suite #10, Titusville, FL 32780.
Deadline For Submission: October 15, 2013
Images will appear in our January 2014 issue

Our Next Topic: Twilight Time
Deadline For Submission:November 15, 2013
Images will appear in our February 2014 issue

Please Note: By submitting you agree to give us the right to show the image(s) on the web and for publication. You give us publication rights in the magazine and on the website(s) of Source Interlink Media.

Please Note: If you submit images with an enhancement through software beyond contrast, exposure, and simple saturation adjustments please indicate the software and “filter” used to attain that effect.—Editor

Want to see images selected for past picture this! Assignments? Go to and click on picture this! In the “more articles…” box on the homepage.

Please Note: If the photograph includes a minor or a recognizable individual or group you are guaranteeing that you have a signed model release form, and especially a parental or guardian release form for minors. You should keep a copy of that release in your files. Scan that release and keep it handy. If an image is chosen for publication, failure to provide a form when requested will eliminate the image from consideration. You can find release forms at and other resources on the Internet. By uploading images you attest that the model release form is valid, that any depiction of a person is with their consent, that you have a model release form available on request, and that all images you submit have been made by you.

If you have any questions or problems e-mail us at with Picture This! in the subject line.

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