How To Simply Photograph A Glass Shadow
Photograph a glass shadow, it’s a simple idea, but a little bit creative.
Just shoot the shadow of something made of glass.
It’s simple idea, just find something made of glass, place it where it will cast a shadow, and photograph the shadow.
Where do I find a glass object? A window is a glass object.
A standard window is unlikely to cast a shadow as the light just goes straight through.
I know that some windows are indented.
People have them where they want light, but they also want privacy.
They can cast a shadow depending on how deep and patterned the indentation is.
Perhaps a window is not the best subject, unless you have access to window with patterned glass.
Photographing a drinking glass shadow
Now I wonder what is a glass object that will cast a shadow that can be photographed, and that I can find easily?
I definitely know that drinking glass is one.
There’s plenty of them, I’m sure you can find one easily. I did.
First I placed it on a table top and took a shot of the shadow.
While the colours are different, the tone of the shadow and the surface it’s placed on are close.
You can see the shadow, but it’s not very well defined.
White board to the rescue
To show the shadow better I decided to get a surface with more contrast between both.
I went and got some white board and I placed the drinking glass on that.
The result was a much more defined image.
The white background makes for a greater contrast and a clearer photo.
As you can see the shadow is not very well defined, because it’s a small subject and I had to zoom in close to exclude the glass.
Looking at the full picture
However to show the context I shot the glass in place as I had photographed it casting the shadow.
I shot both photographs with the same 55 – 250 lens.
The shadow I photographed fully zoomed in at 250mm, and the glass at 90mm.
The shadow that I shot at 90mm is better defined than the one I shot at 250mm.
When you zoom in like that on a small object, it needs great contrast to clearly stand out.
A shadow cast by a glass lampshade
Chandeliers and glass lampshades can cast good shadows also.
Indeed these have a light source right in the middle of them, with which they can cast one.
As they hang from a ceiling they cast their shadow upwards onto it, and it’s going to be a strong shadow as well.
It makes it easy to photograph a glass shadow.
The second sample photo I took was a glass lampshade.
It’s a shade consisting of glass panels with a gap between them.
This means that the shadow is more complex than many others.
The lampshade that cast the shadow
There’s three separate bulbs in the lamp which means that there is three individual shadows being cast across each other as you can see.
The entire shadow makes for a nice and slightly complex design on the ceiling.
I used the same lens here as I’d used for the drinking glass photographs.
Again I’ve got two images, the shadow taken at 70mm and the lamp and shadow at 55mm.
As before, the shot of the lamp and shadow is sharper than the shadow on it’s own.
Bottles and their shadows
The third set of images I have are those of a bottle.
Unlike the previous photos which were of clear glass, the drinking glass, and a very slight tint in the lamp, the bottle is a strong green.
The shadow it cast is of the same strong colour as the bottle.
The clear glass casts a grey shadow where as coloured glass shadow is the colour of the glass.
I placed it on a white board, on a wooden floor and shot from above.
The light source this time is the sun in through a window.
The light causes two shadows
As the light is coming evenly all around the bottle it splits the shadow as if it was coming from two different sources.
Where the light from both sides intersect it casts a strong green shadow.
There’s a wider shadow that extends beyond the main one.
You can see that these shadows are being cast as if there was a different light each side of the bottle. This has a lesser green tint.
Again I show two views here, the shadow on it’s own and a wider shot which includes the bottle.
The light is important
Lastly I have another coloured bottle.
This one is brown, and the shadow it casts is of a strong colour, like the green one only brown..
I’ve lit it by a torch placed directly behind it.
In the photo of the shadow alone, it’s well defined and of a yellow/brown colour.
The full zoomed lens shows the shadow brighter than it actually is.
In the wider shot showing the torch and bottle, the shadow is very definite and as brown as the bottle.
The photos of the brown bottle were taken in the evening as daylight is receding.
This light makes for a very different kind of shadow
As you can see in the shadow of the green bottle, the shadow is at it’s widest at the base of the bottle.
As the main shadow extends from the bottle it gets narrower and soon comes together.
The lesser shadow gets wider as it extends but is very faint.
With one light source placed directly behind the brown bottle, it’s shadow widens as it extends.
The shadow continues a long way whereas the green shadow didn’t .
To photograph a glass shadow doesn’t sound like an exciting subject but as I got into it, it became one.
I’ve just barely touched on it here, when I just grabbed what was handy, so there’s a lot more that can be achieved.
See if you can find other glass objects, and then see what you can produce.