Continuing our look at the potential for ‘still light’, as introduced in last Sunday’s blog. As well as direct light, with its morning or evening shades, shadow patterns can be deeply subtle, and convey a tongue-in-cheek mood. (400 words, a two-minute read)

(Above: the original picture, while showing promise, is a little pale and lacking impact)

A large Dracena plant is located near the garden-facing window of our living room. On spring and summer mornings, it casts evocative shadows that have a potentially sinister side! I had an idea that the image could be used as the basis of, say, an emailed invitation to a pizza afternoon in the garden – we’ve recently bought a table-top pizza oven and are trying not to burn everything…

(Above; simple darkening with the in-phone edit tools gives a big improvement)

The first step was to render the shadows at a deeper level of contrast, plus lower brightness – something most phone cameras will do without the help of any external software. Just bring up the photo, select the edit tools and play with the light setting sliders until it looks right. Press yes, and you get something like the above…

Then I noticed that the double-width Venetian blinds, which had looked good to the eye, didn’t have ‘pleasing proportions’ in the photo. Cropping is simple – again just on in the iPhone – but deciding where to make the crop is the key. When I’d finished, I liked the ‘vertical’ look of the piece.

(Above: Step two – crop to make it more pleasing to the eye)

The final step was to add some lettering. For our made-up pizza party, I wanted to invoke the slightly ‘James Bond’ feel of the blinds and the now-darkened plant shadow. Perhaps it suggested a former-era colonial party somewhere exotic? I needed lettering to suit that.

I have a simple App called Pixlr, which does this kind of thing well, letting you play with text before you commit to it being embedded in the image.

The finished image has that tongue-in-cheek level of menace that I was looking for. Having fun is what it’s all about!

©Stephen Tanham

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

2 Comments on “Still Light (2) : Shaken not stirred

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