Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Light, light and light again!

Light, light and light again!

Photography is nothing but writing with light, as the etymology of the word tells us. In the autumn the sunlight has a special quality that can't be captured in nature at other times of the year. Sometimes I ask myself whether it is the reflection of the sunlight on the yellow and orange leaves which makes it so colorful, or whether there are little particles in the air that function as a filter. But I'm no meteorologist; I'm a photographer. Joe McNally can tell you how to create a similar looking light with a couple of small flashes, but how do you capture the autumnal feeling of a scene like this?

Yes, you could paint the leaves of the trees any color you wanted in Photoshop, but could you render the light realistically? Is this picture interesting because of the colors or because of the light? Or is it more artistic looking and more pleasing to you in black-and-white?

I wonder if it is just the colors? Looking at my pictures critically helps me find out what is special about them. Does this split-tone picture have an autumnal feel to you? Why (not)?

Backlighting may have something to do with this fall feeling. A few seconds can make a big difference in either simply capturing a pretty face or creating a nice portrait. The sun broke through the chestnut trees from one second to the next here. Can you wish for better light, better colors, a prettier profile?

I've always done event and journalistic photography. It is rare that you are blessed with this kind of natural light when you are on assignment!

So there you have a homework assignment. Look at your own pictures critically. Is the light adequate or is it fantastic? Does it help light the subject or does it make the picture what it is? What could you have done to improve it? How, where and when can you find such light again?

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