Photoessay: travels in hard light I

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Today’s images are a mix of subjects from around the world that have benefitted from one thing in common: the kind of strongly directional light that makes shadows so solid they seem real. For want of a better term, I’ve always had this feeling of ‘something more’ when encountering this kind of scene: perhaps it’s the mystery of what isn’t revealed; perhaps it’s the transient objects implied by the shadows – and their absence. It takes light at the right angle relative to the subject (some of these were shot early or late in the day, others near noon) and a particularly clear sky for the light to be intense enough to produce that hard black edge. The world somehow seems just that little bit more vivid – whichever city we may be talking about (in this case, Tokyo, Gothenburg, Doha and Lucerne). MT

This series was shot with a Canon 100D and 55-250STM, an X1D-50c and 90mm, and a H6D-100c and 100mm. Post processing was completed using the techniques in the weekly workflow and PS Workflow III.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


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  1. This combination of sharp light and fairly open shadows is so rare in our tropical countries… I am sure it is one of the things that inspires you when you visit these temperate latitudes. Makes me smell the Autumn!

    • Agreed, and one of the reasons I love shooting above/below 30 degrees of latitude…we pretty much never get this kind of light in the tropics. It doesn’t help that the ends of the day when the sun is at the right angle tends to be cloudy or hazy, too.

  2. I like the atmosphere. Great!

  3. Hugh Rigley says:

    Transparent for sure, for me, however, possibly it is palpable I was searching for? Cheers.

  4. richard majchrzak says:

    passion , logic , to the point in time . your pics always full of inspiration for me , thanks.

  5. Hugh Rigley says:

    Remarkable photos (as always) in, as you say, hard light. They seem very reaI. I can’t seem to choose the right word(s). Certainly they resonate. That said I would love to see them all converted to black and white, however, some may not work in black and white? Very nice and thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks – a real treat.

  6. Nice. And an inspirational, welcome reminder that those of us in the North are heading into that time of the year when shadows can be interesting in the short days.

  7. Beautiful!

  8. May I guess that number five (row of houses, cyclist in red jacket) is from Iceland?

  9. Yes. The world is three dimensional in sunlight.

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