Tuesday, July 17, 2012

June light

With this title I don't mean that June is like a soft drink without sugar. I mean it in photographic terms. It seems that every season - every month even - has its share of unique lighting that begs to be chased.
In addition, different times of day require different ways of looking for motifs.
One evening I stuck my head out the door after dinner as I usually do - to check out the light - and saw some awesome clouds forming in the North. I dropped the dishtowel and grabbed my camera. I knew I didn't have much time because colors as beautiful as these change quickly. Some neighbors were standing out on their balcony having a smoke and enjoying the scene, so I asked them if I could take a picture of them.
By the way, I learned that bit of wisdom from Jim Palik, who told me, "When you have a sky like that, put something in front of it and make some good pictures!"
By the time I had walked up to the street behind our house to get a panoramic shot of East Stuttgart, the magic was gone for that evening. Sometimes there's just nothing as depressing as boring light!

A few days later, I headed out of the house in the evening, not having had time to do much photography the previous week and just itching to make some pictures. I figured I'd make the best of  the last rays of evening light.
Walking down to the footbridge over the Neckar River, I started doing double exposures by simply shifting my camera mid-shutter from one scene to the next. Then I realized that with my white balance set to a cool temperature, the street lights and the dark blue of the evening sky formed perfect contrasting colors.

Tilting the camera to a 90° angle resulted in swooping lines and alien-looking landscapes. Some DSLRs can create multiple exposures in-camera, as you could back in the analog days. With the Sony Alpha line, you have to get creative.

Swirling the camera around also created some very interesting pictures.

As I was heading back home, I tried my hand at a minimalistic shot. Minimalism in photography is not so easy when living in a large city. If you travel to the Arctic or live near the sea, it is probably easier. This time I moved the camera back and forth but the light source was the monochrome reflection of a streetlight on a huge heating pipe.

As June came to an end, the thunderstorms hit. One evening I watched - and photographed - the spectacle from my front porch for 45 minutes. At first, my eight-second exposures just missed the flashes of lightning. Then I got in the groove and captured some nice shots.

It really doesn't get much better than this for June light!


  1. Jim, really wonderful pictures and always inspiring! Thank you!! Christian

  2. wonderful work -and the script ready fine as well -( am I envious ? )