Drama in shadows and reflections
On a cloudy dry day, you have very few shadows or reflections. On a cloudy wet day in the city you will have reflections of light on all wet surface, granted the images may be distorted. This is why artists like rain at night in the city; all the streets and sidewalks become as mirror surfaces and add sparkle to their art.
During a sunny day, shadows take dominance. In the early morning and late evening, the shadows are long. During midday, the shadows are much shorter just below the object itself. For the artist, shadows help them simulate realism and create drama. Shadows on faces help define features, shadows under a tree help give it a foundation on the ground, a place where it is attached. The shadows close to the tree are well defined. Even leaf shadows on the same tree, the ones closest to the shadow image, are sharp and leaves further away are blurry. Often you will see both images on the trunk of a tree. An artist using this fact of images will have a more realistic image on their canvas.
While doing many architectural renderings both by hand and in the computer how I used and treated my shadows had a lot to do with how realistic my rendering would look. I always took great care in how I portrayed my shadows because shadows were images in and of themselves. I have always been intrigued by how shadows made images on other surfaces. The other day I watched the shadows of chairs at my dining room table as they made an image on the side of my refrigerator. I used my camera to capture these images then I turned around to see a work of art in reflective and shadow images on the table itself.
I didn’t move or arrange anything, I just took pictures of what I saw. There were many interesting shadows from the objects on and around the table but also reflected light as the sun not only made shadows but through the glass I saw reflective surfaces inside the shadows. It made for a very interesting design so I also photographed the table as the sun turned it into a spontaneous piece of art work.