Light and Shadows
Monday, January 19th, 2009 by Reed Hoffmann
I admit it, I have a short attention span. Last week we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to see the show, "Art in the Age of Steam." A beautiful exhibition centering on the effect the railroads had on the world and art from the 1800s to the mid 1900s. I can only look at art so long, so luckily I found a distraction.
The exhibition was being shown in the Bloch Building, a recent addition to the museum that’s unique in its design. The layout is clean, and where possible, natural light is allowed in. As we headed down a ramp to the exhibition, I noticed the light from the windows. I always tell people you can make photos with or without the sun, but a good hard light source makes it much easier because of the contrast it creates between light and shadow. In this case the sun combined with the windows and shades was creating beautiful patterns. I told the rest of the group I’d join them shortly and stopped to make some photos with the point-and-shoot I had. Then I ran to catch up.
Later, as I tired of looking at the show, I revisited the same area, and explored it a bit more. I followed another ramp up to where the setting sun was now creating a fence of light, and put myself in a shadow portrait. I stepped outside to walk the grounds and play with using exposure compensation to make the light stone of the buildings stand out against the blue sky. Then it was back inside to rejoin the gang.
As we were leaving, the sun had dropped below the horizon and suddenly the area of light and shadows that first caught my eye was now blah. It wouldn’t have been impossible to still find some nice photos there, but without the contrast of the full sun, you’d have to work harder. And as my friends know, I like the easy way when I can find it!