Dazzled by the Light I

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SS1/60 f 4.5 ISO 1000

“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.” ~ Junichiro Tanizaki
To see this image in black and white please visit Monochromia for my Thursday post.

The process for creating this photograph and most of my other flower photographs is a bit more complicated than using a white or black backdrop.  I have surprised people when telling them that no, it is not a white or black back drop, it is how I used the light that created the effect in my photograph.

To create a white back ground using only natural light, I am using back lighting or side lighting.  I meter on the subject, the flower, for proper exposure.  This creates a white or blown out effect in the back ground or side area.   If I metered on the light, my subject would be under exposed.  The angle of my camera determines the amount of haze or flare in my image.  If my lens is angled up toward the light more light is going to enter the lens and haze or flare will occur.  To avoid this effect, I simply angle my lens down so that light isn’t directly entering it.  This is a very simplified description of angle of incidence.

To create a black back ground using only natural light, I use front lighting.  The light is hitting my subject so that it is well lit.   When I meter on the subject for proper exposure, this makes everything behind the subject dark and creates a dark or black back ground.   In this scenario, if I let the camera determine exposure, or if I metered on the area behind my subject, my subject would be over exposed.

I hope you found this information of use, or at least interesting, for your photography journey.  Please let m know if you have any questions.

Coco and the Angle of Incidence

Coco in Thought

Coco in Thought

Regal Coco

Regal Coco

When photographing Coco, my sister’s dog, over Thanksgiving I played with the angle of incidence – the angle of the light coming into my lens.  If you compare the two images above you’ll notice that when I was above Coco the light was not entering my lens in a direct way, therefore the light was not hazy, and she was not as blown out.  When shooting from below Coco, the angle allowed for more flare or haze as the light came directly into the lens.  This is a perfect example of how photographers should move around, above, or below, their subjects in order to capture the subject in the most pleasing light.   The most pleasing light may be softer, more blown-out light with haze and/or flare, or it may be more direct light allowing for details of the subject to be more definitive.

An easy way to experiment with the angle of incidence is to place a subject such as a vase of flowers in front of a window or door and shoot at different angles.  Once you upload the files, compare the way the light hit your subject based on the angle of the light coming into your lens.

The light being used for the photographs of Coco was hard, direct, and warm light.  The character of the light being used will also influence the final lighting of your subject, but the angle of the light entering your lens is what will result in the differences you see above.

Have fun experimenting and if you would like to share your images with me you can tag me in your post, or send me the link to your post!