Shadows and Shade

Sometimes I like to think about different words and describe with images what I think they mean.

This week Leya has noticed that shade and shadow have different meanings in English, whereas in Swedish there is only one word for the both.


To me a shadow is a dark shape that reflects the original in an interesting way. Shadows are playful. I love photographing shadows, I have dozens of photos of shadows!

A distinct shadow cast by a brilliant sculpture.Sculpture and shadows of a yellow man pierced with native designs in an Art Gallery on a Washington state driveA shadowy staircase.Stairs with shadows at a church/gallery in Copenhagen, DenmarkA small black cat and his shadow tread softly across the sun-lit plaza of Valvanera, an 11th century monastery in Spain. A small black cat and his shadow tread softly across the sun-lit plaza of Valvanera, an 11th century monastery in SpainAn electric shadow cast by flashing lights at night in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A palm shadow with coloured lights in the Puerto Vallarta night, MexicoThe Museum of Asian Civilization in Singapore used shadows and lighting with an amazing effect, much more than most museums. I thought that perhaps these ‘shadow’ puppets from Indonesia were perhaps the inspiration. Asian Museum of Civilization Shadow Puppets


None of the shadows above provide much in the way of shade. Shade is more of a concept – something desperately needed when outside is boiling hot and inside is stuffy and airless.

Although shadows can provide shade, they have to be bigger to provide relief from the heat, such as this shadow of a temple in Mandalay, Myanmar. shadow of the temple in Yangon, MyanmarNapping in the shade of the U Bien Bridge in a small fishing boat (Myanmar). Napping in a small fishing boatAnother from Myanmar, where the entire population shuts down in the heat of the day, and only mad dogs and Englishmen (and tourists) are out and about in the mid-day sun. Boys Resting in the Shade in the Temple up on the Hill Above Inle Lake The concept of shade on a Costa Rican beach. Playa San Juanillo, Costa RicaA shade garden sign at the Washington State University Discovery Gardens near Mt. Verson, Washington. Only the sign is in the sun!A 'Shade Garden' sign at the Washington State University Discovery Gardens near Mt. Verson, WashingtonMore of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Shadows and Shade.

19 responses to “Shadows and Shade

  1. I really like that one of the boys resting in the temple – with the smile and just the entire mood
    and all photos are really great for the theme 🙂

  2. Good choices to show the difference between shadow & shade. I especially liked your shade photo under the U Bien bridge. Normally that kind of shade is a killer for photographs but you’ve incorporated it here well.

  3. These are all excellent and diverse choices – I love every one of them! If I have to have facourite, it might be the cat …and the napping. But the lone tree is great too…and…

    • Shadows have to be one of my favourite things to take photos of; shade is a lot trickier. I was talking to a friend that I’m working with on the word (or words) for shade and shadow in Spanish and she noted that Spanish uses only one word ‘sombra’ as well. On the other hand, she noted that English also uses the word ‘shades’ for levels of light and darkness in colours whereas in Spanish it’s a totally different word…

  4. A-plus this week Elizabeth! Especially loved your shadows, which are a perfect example of the concept of discerning an object by its shadow. Well done!

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