The power of chiaroscuro in monochrome photos

On cloudy days, I am always looking for the chiaroscuro.  You know it when you see it – the high contrast light and deep shadows that create distinct areas of light and darkness that can be especially exploited with monochrome photos.  Here are a few favorites from our New Zealand trip.

It can be subtle like the cover photo with the sun setting behind the mountains on the right.  Below is the same day and time, I just swung the camera bit to the left.  I love the trees lit up with the dark lake and the dark shadows on the mountains in the background.

It can also be much more dramatic.  Here is a panorama I made with deep shadows and spot lights.

A few minutes later as the sun set, the shadow swept through the lake and up the trees until just the tips were illuminated.

All of these were made in the same location on the same day with a sweeping view of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.  It does take a bit of luck with the right weather, terrain, and patience to let the light change.

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