Shadows of Spain

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Travel photographs are an exploration of photography as well as an exploration of place. In this case the location was a courtyard in Málaga, Spain.

Málaga is an interesting gateway to Spain. The international airport is connected to the main rail station by a short city rail line. Our hotel was a short walk from the station and was in the old town. Nearby there are several blocks dedicated to pedestrian shopping and restaurants. Old Málaga is very pleasant for strolling and dining outside on the plazas.

During our stay in Spain we rode the train around Andalucía and saw as much as we could in Cádiz, Zahora, Córdoba, Granada, and many small villages along the coast. Near the end of our stay we returned to our old town hotel in Málaga. Late in the evening after we had walked back from dinner I started photographing out our hotel window.

Outside the hotel there was a courtyard with one lane for vehicle traffic marked by blocks. The light was dim but there were many lights so shadows were cast in multiple directions. I photographed the courtyard, at first just seeing the geometric shapes. Each element had several shadows. I started keying in on the shadows and the narrow range of brightness. The images were subtle, but interesting.

Geometric Shapes and Shadows, Courtyard, Málaga, Spain

As often happens when you spend time working on a scene new elements came into the image.

The first new element was a person running across the courtyard. I was using only available light so the shutter speed was slow. Movement created challenges. This person has at least two distinct and intriguing shadows. The shadows are a different shape than the running person because of the angle of the light sources. The blocks again have multiple shadows.

Runner and Shadows, Málaga, Spain

The second new situation was two bicyclists. They were doing tricks using the planter boxes and other features in the courtyard. Some of their shadows are distinct and some are faint. In this photo the cyclist on the left is doing a ‘wheelie’ and his shadow records it precisely.

Bicyclists With at Least Three Shadows Each, Málaga, Spain

I treated this as a learning exercise with low light photography and shadows. I converted the photographs to simple black and white. To me, in this case, the range in brightness and shadows are the interesting aspects of these photos. This is one of the rare times that I have artificially converted photographs to black and white. In general, I favor color photographs because they better represent the real world. Other people prefer to use one channel of overall brightness and show the photographs as black and white. I understand the art of black and white, but I think a lot is lost with that artificial presentation. Some photographers will disagree strongly with that opinion and characterization. I also think that color photographs hold as much artistic power as photographs depicting only overall brightness. But it is traditional to think otherwise. Artistic expression is possible with both approaches.

Please comment if you have an opinion! If you are viewing the list of all the blog postings, you can leave a reply by selecting this post from the blog list or click on ‘…Comments’ above by the title of this posting.




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