“An Echo of Stairs” – A Study

Some of my photos just happen; others take more time, work, reflection and discovery. This series is an example of the latter. Beyond my own inner journey of aesthetic discovery, these images also explore the changes light can produce on a static scene. What do you think? And which is your favorite?

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An Echo of Stairs11/28/2015 – While exploring some Hudson Valley ruins I came across this scene. I’m interested in windows and exploring how they can reflect on relationships between inner and outer dimensions. I was intrigued by how parts of this outer wall related to the vestige of stairs on the interior wall about 20 feet beyond. In particular, I lined up the pointed fragment of the external veneer with that vestige. While I liked the resulting image, I was ambivalent about it. It just seemed a bit…blah.

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2__2-14-2016-setting2/14/2016 – While it was really cold (about 5-10 degrees) that day, the light was great. I returned to this spot to see what it would look like in this light. This is a general view of the location. The shadows of the fallen branch leaning against the wall play a key role in the following images. A towering sycamore (currently shadowing the 2nd window) also played a role.

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3__2-14-2016_12-272/14/2016, 12:27 PM – I liked how the shadows on the outer wall related to the shadow of a tree on the interior wall. However, on reflection I felt ambivalent about the left side of the image. It seemed to me to be dead space that distracted from the rest of the image.

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4__2-14-2016_1-572/14/2016, 1:57 PM – An hour and a half later, the light and shadows had moved. I liked how the lighting was more uniform on the outer wall, while the sun on the inner wall made it more distinct. However, I had mixed feelings about how the tree shadows on that inner wall seemed to be off-balanced and edging out of the frame of the window.

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Window, Shadows and an Echo of Stairs #12/18/2016, 9:04 AM – I returned to this scene early in the morning 4 days later. (Thankfully, it was about 25 degrees warmer!) I like how the light is generally uniform across each wall, and I like how the shadows of the previously noted leaning branch intersect with the top left corner of the window frame and with the top left of the stair vestige. I also find it interesting how the lines of the structure seem to run from upper left to lower right, while the light and shadow lines run from upper right to lower left. However, I’m ambivalent about how the extreme angle of lighting on the walls seems to give them a kind of visual “crunchiness.”

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Window, Shadows and an Echo of Stairs / Shadows Within And Without2/18/2016, 10:49 – The lighting on the walls in this image is more even, the shadows are balanced across the image and the “crunchiness” is gone. While the “upper left/lower right” lines of the structure remain, the “lower left/upper right” lines of the shadows offer a stronger graphic element. Plus, the outer and inner shadows seem to integrate, as if the 20-foot distance between them doesn’t exist. Right now, this is my favorite.

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2016; all rights reserved.

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