For today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” we are going to peer into the darkness and take a look at Shadows.
Shadows not only help to reveal texture and details in a photograph, but they can also aid in composition. When the sun is low in the sky, be it either morning or evening, you can use the shadows created by an object as a leading line or as a way to show some detail that might be lost in the bright light. They can also be used to add interest to what might be an otherwise boring subject. Shadows also lend themselves to a more interesting and dramatic black and white photo.
Here are a few examples of shadows across the Disneyland Resort and the post processing techniques I chose to intensify the contrast between light and dark in my photos.
For this picture of the boardwalk at Paradise Park, I set the camera on the deck in the middle of the railing's shadow, so the shadow itself created the look of a sidewalk to lead my eye down the deck.
Here is the original photograph.
I opened it in Photoscape and converted it to Black and White. Then I clicked on the Bright, Color tab. In the drop down menu I clicked on Deepen and then Low. This darkened the blacks a little bit and made the black and white in the photo a little bit richer. Lastly I clicked on the Filter tab, went to Vignette and selected #2 to add a touch of darkness to the corners.
Then, just to see how it would look, I clicked on the Filter Tab and selected Fake Tilt Shift. In that window, I chose Normal Mode and decreased the Blur by 20%, increased the Contrast by 10% and moved the crosshairs down to the lower part of the frame so the shadow in the foreground would be in focus and the rest of the image out of focus. I was pleasantly surprised at how it gave the shadow in the foreground so much more impact.
Shortly after taking the pictures on the boardwalk, I strolled over to the Silly Symphony Swings to take some pictures of it. As I was waiting to board the swings I was taking pictures of people swinging by and then I noticed their shadows on the ground and thought it made for an interesting picture.
Later that afternoon I was over in Pacific Wharf and saw the shadows on the deck of the bridge created by the late afternoon sun. I used the railing as the leading line to draw the eye through the image.
I opened it in Photoscape, Cropped it a touch, converted it to Black and White and added the Vignette #2 to it, just as I did for the picture of the boardwalk.
For this picture I really wanted to exaggerate the Black and various shades of grey, so I clicked on the Bright, Color tab and went to Deepen and clicked on High. Notice how much more impact the shadows have now.
While going through the queue at Big Thunder, I was struck by the shadows of the railroad tracks on the side of the queue.
Because of the old west theme of the area, I converted it to Sepia instead of Black and White then in the Bright, Color drop down menu, I went to Contrast Enhancement and clicked on High. Then in the same Bright, Color menu I went to Darken and clicked on Low.
Then just to really give it a unique feel, I clicked on the Filter tab, went to Film Effect and in that drop down menu I chose Cross Process – Middle.
As I was walking by the River Belle Terrace, I noticed the lovely shadow created by the railing on the brick walkway. The railing shadow draws your eye towards the door. This one just worked better in color than it did in Black & White or Sepia.
I hope this little peek into the shadows has inspired you to see shadows in a whole new light.
Post processing was done in Photoscape
© Michael Greening 2010