posted by: JoAnn
It’s sunny 300+ days a year here in Colorado.
When my husband and I moved to this state in January of 1999, we covered our eyes and begged the locals to explain to us what this massive, bright ball in the sky was. I mean, it couldn’t be the sun! This was JANUARY. We’d just battled a blizzard and trekked across the plains, leaving the gray, sunless skies of a Typical Midwestern Winter to start our new lives in Colorado.
But, it was the sun. The locals thought this much sun was normal, even in winter. Clearly, we’d moved to a magical land. (The above photo was taken in January 2009, ten years later.)
Whenever I admit out loud that I actually like a cloudy day every now and then, I get strange looks. Yes, most everyone in Colorado thinks I’m crazy. The residents of Denver go a bit stir-crazy after a few hours of gloom, but I know better. I know that the sun will come out again. I know that we won’t be stuck for months without a glimmer of hope. If you wait just a minute, it will be sunny in Denver. It almost always is.
Well, I’ve never been one to let things go to waste, so we try to put all this sunshine to good use. One of the things we like to do with the sun is take shadow portraits. My husband and I have been doing this for as long as I remember. Some of my favorite ones are from when it was just the two of us in our little family.
When we added Claire to the mix, our portraits expanded to fit three shadows. It’s because of her that we started saying, “Cheese!” just before we snap the shot. See? Even with the snow, there is sun. Colorado is amazing.
Most recently, while on vacation, we sought out locations to do shadow portraits, and we were pleasantly surprised at the results. Shadow portraits allowed even the anonymous in our family to be part of a family portrait I could share on the Internet.
So, how do you take a shadow portrait? It’s easy, and you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have a fancy camera to play. I don’t have any particular skill when it comes to photography. (There are some Mile High Mamas, like Aimee and Gretchen, that are awesome photographers.) I use my BlackBerry or my little Canon, both set on automatic, to capture the shot. I don’t use a fancy photo-editing program. I crop and resize, and that’s about it.
All you need to get a good shadow portrait is a backdrop and the sun. If you’re planning a shadow portrait, the tricky part is finding just the right scenery when the sun is in the proper place. If you’re not planning a shadow portrait, they will pop up on you when you least expect them.
I will warn you: once you start taking shadow portraits, it will be hard to stop. Every time the sun warms my back, I look at the scene in front of me and wonder how it would look in a shadow portrait.
And, in Colorado, that happens almost every day.
What about you? Have you ever taken Shadow Portraits? Share them with us!