How To Find Good Light For Photography

By | 25/12/2022

In a follow-up to a previous article, “A Study in Vision, Lite, and Shadows”, I decided to share my thoughts and experiences on my most inspiring topic in photography – lite. For simplicity, I decided to write about low-cal in a narrow context from the perspective and feel of a landscape lensman, since outdoors scenes are what I gravitate to. Much of the analysis and discussion that follows is equally applicable to other genres of photography, such every bit portraits, macro, nonetheless-life, and commercial photography. In this article, I will cover broadly what quality of lite ways for me in landscape photography also every bit discuss a multifariousness of scenarios where the scenic photographer can use unlike properties of low-cal to create a given effect. Delight note that this discussion is based on my ain personal observations and experiences, which may differ from those of other photographers. My goal is to assistance starting time landscape photographers empathize the different qualities of sunlight and how this instrumental tool can be harnessed to fulfill the visualization process.

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Crepuscular lite in the West Fjords, Iceland
Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm f/iii.5-four.five One thousand ED VR

As visual artists and photographers, when we hear or read a reference about the “quality” of lite, we may ask,
“What exactly does that mean?”Visual artists (painters, sketch artists, sculptors, photographers) can talk almost light at length, but a consensus on merely what constitutes “adept light” or “bad light” tin can be elusive. The brusque, if not nebulous, reply to this question is that the quality of low-cal may mean different things to dissimilar photographers and perhaps hold a dissimilar pregnant at different stages in their discovery process. The truth is that there may not always be a “best” quality of light that is applicable to all situations or cherished past all photographers.

What are some of the qualities of lite that scenic photographers seek? Is there a common denominator? Some photographers may cherish a “warm” scene . . .

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Nikon D5000, Nikkor 55-200mm f/ Chiliad ED VR

or a “absurd” scene . . .

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Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.five-4.5G ED VR

Some photographers may adopt to work with so-chosen “hard” light . . .

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Nikon F6, Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ais, Kodak T-Max 100, Wratten #fifteen

or “soft” light.

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Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.v-4.5 G ED VR

Fundamentally, I view lite as the requisite concrete tool and artful device to translate artistic vision into an image that conveys what the artist was feeling at the time of opening the shutter. Many landscape photographers (myself included) may describe and swear by “magical” low-cal that may be difficult to express in words, but they surely know it when they see it. Ane of my favorite quotes from the unequalled Galen Rowell  is,
“My first thought is always of low-cal“. Mr. Rowell’s philosophy is the prototype of the technical and aesthetic imperative of the photographic process. In the video clip beneath, delight scroll to the 1:45 mark to hear Mr. Rowell speak with passion virtually his approach to light.

In the creation of a mural photograph, I arroyo the quality of light with two interrelated properties in heed: the
and the
colour temperature. Why these two properties? The directionality of light determines the all-important quality of *shadows*, the *contrast*, and the *textures* in the landscape. Shadows, in turn, are what create depth, shape, and dimension in the scene and may also confer a provocative mood and emotion to the photograph.


To help first photographers understand the diverse backdrop of lite, allow’southward accept a look at a few controlled demonstrations of the directionality of light. Consider a plainly sheet of crumpled re-create paper. If we vary the directionality of calorie-free, would this influence the physical appearance and mood of this bailiwick? The following photo shows the paper existence illuminated solely with an overhead incandescent ceiling lamp. The directionality of this lighting is more or less even, only non completely. As yous can see, at that place are shadows that lend a sense of shape, dimension, and texture, but the effect is neither compelling physically nor emotionally. Really, it looks somewhat flat because the
are relatively flat.

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Adjacent, permit’s adapt the lighting by keeping the overhead incandescent lamp on and placing a photoflood lamp in front the discipline, directly behind the subject, and from both sides. Over again, the lighting is roughly even. This is similar to the light of an clouded sky, for example, where sunlight is illuminating the scene from all directions (i.e., the soft box upshot) and shadows are existence filled in. Compared to the previous image, this subject bears a similar physical and emotional appearance – lifeless and boring.

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But wait . . . what happens if we modify the directionality of the lite? This is where the drama unfolds. Let’s turn off the overhead ceiling lamp also every bit the lamps from behind, in font, and from the right leaving just the paper illuminated from the left side at a low angle.

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Wow . . . what a difference. This particular calorie-free has created a starkly dissimilar appearance and emotion. With the source of light now existence
unidirectional and raking across the discipline at a low angle, we can perceive longer shadows, more shape and contours, more textures, and a heightened sense of depth that were minimal in the previous more than evenly lit subjects. With more than prominent visual cues of well-defined shadows alternate with highlights, the mind is more inspired to interpret and “encounter” faces, mountains, valleys, hills, defects, and creases.

What well-nigh other forms of the directionality of low-cal? Can the visual artist and lensman however create this dramatic type of rendition without side lighting? To find out, let’southward illuminate the newspaper solely with a lamp from behind at a low angle (i.e.,

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Very interesting
. . . compared to the previous image made with side lighting, there are stark similarities and differences. For ane, the long shadows remain, which ways nosotros can appreciate the same physical attributes (shape, texture, depth) as well as a dramatic emotion. The difference is that the “landscape” itself has changed because of the alter in the direction of the shadows. Instead of long shadows being cast perpendicular to the axis of the lens, the shadows are now existence bandage towards the lens. Thus, with a new design of alternate shadows and highlights, the mind can at present interpret a completely different scene. This rendition bears “new” faces and mountains, if not a different identity. Because the shadows are different, structures that were previously seen with side lighting may be less prominent, may be no longer appreciated, or exist interpreted differently by the viewer. Conclusion? Two different sources of light . . . two different sets of shadows . . . 2 starkly dissimilar moods and interpretations – all past virtue of directionality of the light.

OK, what would happen if we keep the light unidirectional but illuminate the field of study from directly in front (i.e.,
lite source
the lens)? Based on the previous examples, can yous predict the directionality and “quality” of the shadows? That is, what do y’all retrieve the lens volition “see” from this type of lite? And what physical and emotional impact would this light have on the image and therefore on the viewer?

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As one would expect, in comparison to side lighting and back lighting, the front end lighting delivers a starkly different rendition. Because the shadows are now headed
from the lens, they are more than
hidden, in much the same way the shadows were hidden in the offset two examples when they were filled in by more than even lighting. With the shadows at present more curtained from view, predictably we lose much of the physical depth, textures, shapes, and mood that were prominent with the side lighting and dorsum lighting. The front of the subject now appears “smoother” with loss of textures, creases, and defects. Comparatively, this effect is no more compelling than the “even lighting” in the starting time 2 examples. In essence, the front lighting is like to the quality of light that many portrait photographers use, namely forepart diffused lighting (i.e.,
butterfly lighting) to conceal wrinkles, pores, creases, and defects on the skin of the face. By concealing shadows and thus minimizing texture, the viewer interprets a softer and smoother surface. For glamour photographers, this quality of calorie-free may exist what is desired for upshot; but for the landscape photographer, recording these defects is
what we desire. We want to treat our audience to attracting textures, creases, deep shadows, and possibly deliver a dramatic mood and story.

As you lot can readily deduce from these simulations, shadows and contrast are an essential visual cue to the human listen in the perception of shape and depth in 3-dimensional space. Without these visual cues, the mind would otherwise translate a flat scene, which may not be desirable from an aesthetic standpoint. Further, these demonstrations strongly infer that the quality of light that lends itself well for landscape photography is low bending, unidirectional calorie-free from the side or directly behind the landscape. Hence, the mode in which the lensman uses the direction of light to create a photograph is essential to creating the overall physical and emotional impact of an image. This cute phenomenon explains how a given photographer with a given artistic vision (or two different photographers with dissimilar life experiences and artistic visions) can photograph the aforementioned subject field and come away with completely different images. In my humble opinion, this is the prototype of photography as a grade of fine art. It really
all about the calorie-free; the “latest greatest gear” is irrelevant . . .

Now, let’s turn our attention to real life examples of the quality of light in outdoor photography.

1) Side Lighting

This is my favorite quality of lighting, as its unidirectionality beautifully creates alluring shadows, textures, and shape likewise equally imparts 3-dimensionality and mood to a scene:

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Words really cannot do it justice – a visual artist but has to discover and appreciate this light for himself/herself. Consider the following mural scene where the incident sunlight is coming in at a low bending nearly perpendicular to the centrality of the lens.

Ikeda Anba 4×five, Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.five, Ilford HP5 Plus, Wratten #15

I crafted this composition such that at that place would be lite sweeping across the landscape creating an interplay of shadows and highlights in the immediate foreground, in the eye, and in the background. As you can run into, the shadows in the sand, the foliage, and in the sandstone rocks create an illusion of depth equally well as an array of interesting textures extending from near to far. In my apprehensive opinion, assuming the composition is potent, this type of light brandish is 1 of the more enjoyable aspects of landscape photography.

In this next photo, made during a dank only scenic hike through the highlands of Iceland, the light was coming in at a depression angle well-nigh perpendicular to the axis of the lens (audio familiar?). Afterward patiently waiting for a snow/sleet tempest to pass and the deject comprehend to gently lift, the well-nigh beautiful quality of light I had ever witnessed bathed the mount.
“It was glorious!”
The shadows and dissimilarity were attracting, as were the sense of dimension and the textures. The mood was peaceful, uplifting, and radiant . . .  As I witnessed the beauty unfolding, I was inspired to make a photograph that conveyed all of these attributes and emotions.

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Nikon D800, Voigtländer 40mm f/ii SL 2

I fabricated this next photograph subsequently a clearing winter tempest in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California (more than on this special case of calorie-free in a future article). As yous can see, the calorie-free is raking across the mount at a depression angle and perpendicular to the lens. Please annotation the management of the shadows, the overall contrast, and fibroid textures in the snowfall and rock. Again, this quality of lighting is what really gets me excited about landscape photography!

Mamiya 7II, 210mm f/eight, Kodak T-Max 100, Wratten #16

Beyond pure landscapes, side lighting tin can potentially yield the same beautiful physical and aesthetic results with plants and flowers, as the following two images illustrate. Each flower was illuminated by sunlight coming in low at a most ninety caste angle to the lens. The textures of the petals are nicely elucidated, and one time once again the interplay of highlights and shadows create depth and an element of intrigue.

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Nikon D5000, Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.eight G ED
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Nikon FM3a, Micro Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 Ais, Kodak Ektar 100, 81A

two) Backlighting

Next, let’s consider examples of backlighting, which is besides adept at revealing textures and creating shape and dimension with boosted attributes in special cases (more on this below).

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In the next photo of sand dunes at sunrise at Death Valley National Park, the lite is sweeping beyond the mural from behind at a low angle, which casts the shadows toward the lens. As with side lighting, this quality of light magically brings out the textures of the sand and beautifully accentuates shape and contours by virtue of the coaction of shadows and highlights.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-five.half-dozen M ED VR

Further, in terms of creating mood and touch on in a landscape, backlighting can piece of work its magic in a number of other ways. In gild to create an alluring mood, I often utilise backlighting to take reward of the
effect and

iii) Silhouetting

In the side by side photograph taken at i of my favorite landscape subjects, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the silhouetted pine trees against a radiant backdrop at sunset created a vibrant and uplifting mood. Every bit I opened the shutter to make the exposure, my creative goal was to  juxtapose ane of nature’s rare life forms (the second rarest pino tree in the globe) with vibrant colors to invite the viewer into a precious and magical world . . .

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Ikeda Anba iv×v, Kodak Wide Field Ektar 100mm f/6.3, Fujichrome Velvia 100, 81C

Similarly, this next photo of a cloud formation at dusk evokes the same concrete attributes and emotion. The mix of deep shadows and stiff highlights creates depth and emotion, and the backlight skimming the underside of the clouds and the surface of the ocean creates alluring textures. Every bit I studied and marveled at this stunning light brandish, I felt as if I could accomplish out and touch the clouds and feel the low-cal bathing my easily . . .  At the decisive moment of opening the shutter, this was exactly the emotion that I wished to convey with my photograph.

Mamiya 7II, 43mm f/4.5, Fujichrome Velvia 50, 85C

Farther, the limerick that the photographer crafts need neither be grand nor exotic to explore the silhouette effect. A composition that emphasizes simplicity may take an every bit profound aesthetic bear upon . . .

Nikon F6, Nikkor seventy-200mm f/4 G ED VR, Kodak Portra 160, 81C

iv) Translucence

Another special case of backlighting involves the elegant transmission of lite through a variety of media. A classic instance is the warm and brilliant glow of sunlight through leafage in fall, as the side by side photo illustrates. Texture and the illusion of depth notwithstanding, this grade of lighting in and of itself may well be the salient feature of such an prototype.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm f/three.v-5.6 G ED VR

On a smaller scale, as in close-ups, translucence may also be used creatively to make an otherwise prosaic subject appear enticing, equally the following photo of a delightful pansy blossom subsequently a fresh rain illustrates.

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Kodak Easyshare Z1012 IS

My personal favorite use of translucence in the creative procedure involves the glorious radiance of sunlight through clouds (in particular nearly sunset). Provided the lensman skillfully manipulates the exposure/film development/post-processing to control the strong highlights, the artful outcome can be very pleasing.

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Mamiya 7II, 43mm f/4.5, Ilford Pan F Plus l, Wratten #25A

In addition to solids and gas/clouds, translucence with water may also confer a pleasant surprise on the mood of a mural scene. Consider the following photograph I had fabricated during a trek through southern Iceland to photograph the “Midnight Sun”. Here at an obscure yet delightful waterfall, the sun’due south radiance through the water mist had an uncanny result on accentuating the already glorious scene that was unfolding.

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Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.v-four.v G ED VR

v) Forepart Lighting

Of all the qualities of low-cal that I have explored, this is my least preferred quality of light, for the reasons illustrated in the simulations in a higher place. Again, the directionality of light (coming from behind the lens) effectively *hides* the shadows from the lens, which for a landscape photographer is non at all desirable. Hidden shadows have the unfortunate effect of depriving shape, depth, and textures from a scene, which in turn results in a flat paradigm, physically and emotionally. Having said that, I can recollect of 3 scenarios where forepart lighting can potentially be used to create a compelling landscape photograph. The commencement scenario is where the sunlight (in particular at early on sunrise and late sunset) is illuminating a distant structure (such equally a mount), and the resulting glow on the landscape may be aesthetically rich enough in its own right to create an inviting epitome.

Nikon D3s, Nikkor 50mm f/ane.viii D

The second scenario would be photographing a rainbow, one of the more interesting (yet relatively uncommon) low-cal phenomena in nature. A give-and-take of rainbows is far beyond the scope of this commodity, but I would like to invite our Readers to the following video clip of an interview with Galen Rowell (please scroll to the 1:32 mark to hear Mr. Rowell discuss the phenomenon of rainbows). Likewise, I highly recommend this first-class article, “How To Photo a Rainbow”, authored by our very own Nasim Mansurov.

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Nikon D800, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ais

The 3rd scenario where front end lighting may entreatment to a landscape lensman would be to capture the shadow(s) cast by an object that is situated directly behind the camera (such as a tree) in order to create foreground interest in the scene. Personally, I have notwithstanding to feel inspired by this type of lighting scenario, just it is certainly something that may be considered if the composition appears weak or if the lensman’due south position in the field relative to the light cannot be easily changed.

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Nikon D3s, Nikkor 24mm f/one.4G

6) Fifty-fifty Lighting

As you might already have experienced with your mural photography exploits, even lighting (in detail from clouded skies), is not equally visually or emotionally interesting as side lighting and backlighting. Considering of the diffuse nature of this lighting, much of the shadows in the landscape is filled in, resulting in relatively low contrast and a flat physical and emotional appearance, as the following photograph reveals. For these reasons, I typically avoid this blazon of lighting in photographing landscapes, unless in that location is something structurally unusual or unique most the mural itself.

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Nikon D800, Voigtländer 40mm f/2 SL II

However, even lighting can potentially be favorable in photographing outdoor subjects up-shut, in particular trees, plants, and flowers, where low contrast and softer shadows may make the subject announced more flattering. Consider the post-obit photograph of a barrel cactus. Here, the skies were bright clouded (approximately f/eight light intensity via “The Sunny xvi Rule”) and the lighting was predictably low in contrast. This was actually the lite that I desired for this subject, considering soft shadows would have conferred a more pleasant mood to an otherwise coarse subject.

Ikeda Anba iv×5, Kodak Ektar 203mm f/seven.7, Ilford Ortho Copy Plus

Another potential reward of diffuse fifty-fifty lighting in the visualization process would be to capture the luminescence of colors in plants and flowers, especially under the illumination of brilliant overcast skies (between f/five.6 and f/8 intensity). I promise many of my fellow photographers have also discovered the radiance of yellows, reds, and greens in flowers under overcast skies, as the post-obit two images illustrate.

Nikon FM3a, Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-four.5 D, Kodak Ektar 100, 81A
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Nikon D5000, Micro Nikkor 60mm f/two.8G

A third scenario where even lighting may exist advantageous would be in photographing waterfalls. Many breathtaking photographers (myself included) prefer soft, lengthened, low dissimilarity lighting (equally opposed to the direct illumination of sunlight) for these subjects, as the intense glare and reflections from straight sunlight on the water may not be aesthetically pleasing.

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Mamiya 7II, 43mm f/iv.five, Fujichrome Velvia 50, 85C

One notable exception to avoiding straight illumination of waterfalls would be the iconic Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park (aka the Fire Fall), where the direct illumination of sunlight on a pocket-size stream of water falling over the eastern face up of El Capitan in mid-February creates an uncanny appearance of lava pouring over the face of the mountain.

Mamiya 7II, 150mm f/4.5, Fujichrome Velvia 50, 81C

7) Mid-solar day Sunlight

As is the case with front lighting, the quality of mid-day sunlight makes information technology one of my least preferred choices of calorie-free in mural photography. The result with this blazon of non-unidirectional lighting is that the shadows it casts are relatively shorter, more abrupt, darker, and possess less textural item than the longer, softer, and more detail-laden shadows of unidirectional light. Consider the following two schematics that illustrate this problem.

Mid-day sun schematic
Sun high in the heaven at mid-twenty-four hour period
Unidirectional light Schematic
Lord’s day depression in the sky at the extremes of the mean solar day

Because of the high position of the sun in the sky at mid-twenty-four hours (specially during the summer months in the U.Due south. where I more often than not photograph), the high intensity, not-unidirectional light potentially “interferes” with skylight, which is responsible for illuminating shadows in open up shade. In theory, this interference may diminish the textural range of the shadows, minimizing their detail. The short nature of these shadows also blunts the 3-dimensional appearance of the scene, making information technology appear relatively flat. Conversely, when the sun is lower in the sky at the extremes of the day (i.e.,
sunrise and sunset), the light is more unidirectional and less intense and thus at that place should be (in theory) less interference between the incident sunlight and skylight. This translates into longer shadows that may potentially accept more detail and texture.

Some other disadvantage of mid-day sunlight is that the color temperature (more than on this beneath) is more “neutral”, meaning that it is more “white” in colour, which does non lend itself well aesthetically for color mural photography. For all of these reasons, I typically avoid this quality of low-cal for landscape photography. Nevertheless, at that place are a number of scenarios where this quality of light may be desirable for scenic photography. One scenario would be in blackness and white architectural photography, wherein the photographer tin make use of the loftier dissimilarity and night shadows to create abstract photographs, particularly if lens filtration is used to cake blue low-cal. Secondly, for color landscape photography mid-day sunlight under clear skies can be used to capture the vibrant blues, greens, and turquoise in water, as the following ii images illustrate. This lighting responds well to a polarizer filter to cut down h2o reflections and raise the color saturation of the water.

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Nikon FM3a, Nikkor 28-70mm f/three.5-iv.5 D, Fujicolor Superia XTRA-400, 81A
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Nikon D5000, Nikkor eighteen-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR

And thirdly, the high intensity calorie-free from the mid-day sun on a articulate blue heaven (f/16 to f/22 intensity) has been a cherished tool for the infrared photographer, as this is the time of the day when sunlight is enriched with infrared radiations.

Mamiya 7II, 43mm f/4.5, Ilford SFX-200, Hoya R72

8) The Golden Hour

“Y’all merely get one sunrise and 1 sunset a day, and you lot only get so many days on the planet. A adept lensman does the math and doesn’t waste either.”
– Galen Rowell.

Ahhh . . .this is mayhap one of the most well-known and cherished qualities of light for many mural photographers. A formal introduction is not needed for this quality of lite, which is my personal favorite tool in landscape photography for all of the reasons already examined above. Finding this light is like shooting fish in a barrel: presently after sunrise and shortly before sunset, although the duration of each “Hour”may vary depending on your location relative to the Earth’s equator. Close to the equator, the Golden Hour may last less than an hr, and far from the equator it may last much longer than an hour. Once again, words cannot do justice to this special quality of calorie-free. You*have*to run across and experience this light for yourself. This quality of light is rich in emotion, aesthetics, and beautiful warmth. It is lower in intensity and more lengthened compared to the light from the mid-24-hour interval lord’s day. Of course, the Gold Hour light boasts the unidrectionality that is essential to creating long shadows, revealing textures, and imparting dimension to a scene. For more background on why this special form of calorie-free is warm in color, I would encourage you to read most the interesting physical phenomenon of  Rayleigh scattering. Near the horizon (i.due east., at sunrise and sunset), calorie-free must travel a longer distance through the atmosphere. Due to selective handful of low-cal by gas molecules in the atmosphere, shorter wavelengths of light
(i.e., blue low-cal) are unduly “filtered out”, leaving a higher proportion of longer wavelength low-cal (i.e.,
red light); hence, the warmer advent of calorie-free at sunrise and sunset. As Mr. Rowell elegantly stated in the above quote, this calorie-free is all there for the taking. 🙂

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Ikeda Anba iv×v, Nikkor-SW 75mm f/iv.5, Fujichrome Velvia 100, 81A
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Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.half-dozen G ED VR

For comparison, and to re-enforce the stark divergence in the concrete appearance and mood of a landscape between unidirectional lighting and even lighting, delight closely examine the following photograph of the same sand dunes made minutes earlier the “Golden Hour” commenced. Textures that are clearly appreciated in the sunlit scene higher up are clearly absent-minded in the evenly lit scene. The contrast, shadows, and contours in the sunlit scene are hit, whereas the evenly lit scene appears apartment, every bit skylight alone is illuminating the scene and filling in all of the shadows. 1 landscape is warm, radiant, and dynamic; the other is cold, apartment, and lifeless. The same field of study . . . two unlike qualities of light . . . two starkly unlike photographs.Viewing tip
: delight click on either of these two photos and use the arrows at the lower right to toggle between the two to appreciate the differences.

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Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm f/three.5-v.six G ED VR

ix) Color Temperature

In add-on to the directionality of calorie-free, color temperature equally a quality of light plays a prominent role in the visualization procedure in color photography. Undoubtedly, many beginning landscape photographers already appreciate and enjoy how the relative warmth (or coolness) of a scene potentially confers a special mood and emotion to a photograph. Hopefully, many of the above photographs take illustrated this issue. Color temperature is an interesting physical property of light that defines the relationship between the temperature of a radiation source and the colour of low-cal that the source emits. In color digital photography, color temperature of light is ofttimes synonymous with a principle called
white balance. For a complete word of this topic, I highly recommend our previously published articles, “What is White Balance?” and “Agreement White Balance – A Beginner’s Guide”, authored by our very own Nasim Mansurov and John Bosley, respectively.

The color temperature of sunlight cycles during the day, being depression in temperature (i.e.,
visually warm) at sunrise, gradually escalating toward mid-mean solar day (i.eastward.,becoming visually libation, or more neutral), then gradually decreasing again toward dusk (i.e.,becoming visually warmer), and then escalating precipitously at dusk.

In color digital photography, there is non a native white residuum that is used to make an exposure; this property can be contradistinct. In color film photography, the white balance of a given film is fixed (i.e., daylight balanced vs tungsten balanced), but this as well can be modified for creative purposes. It goes without saying that the most important fashion for a photographer to control the white balance is to choose the advisable lighting. Even so, if the available light is not ideal to fulfill the lensman’s visualization process, and so the white residual can exist manipulated to achieve the desired event. For example, color film photographers can easily (and direct) alter the color temperature of calorie-free
it enters the lens with the utilise of warming (or cooling) screw-on lens filters. Color digital photographers can easily alter the color temperature through the figurer menus within the digital photographic camera. Nasim’s commodity provides an in-depth look at how to set the white rest on a digital camera. Boosted details on the use of warming filters can exist found in these articles on visualization and film photography.

When and how much a photographer should alter the color temperature of lite is a highly individualized conclusion that is predicated on the lensman’south artistic vision and goals for creating the photograph. There is no right or incorrect . . .  For my landscape and scenic photographs, I prefer a warm rendition. In many of the above color film photographs, I relied on warming filters such as the 81A, 81C, or 85C to
the colour temperature (i.e., filter out cool blue lite) to create a warm and uplifting mood. Alternatively, other color pic photographers may use a cooling filter (such as the 80 filter serial) to
the color temperature
(i.e., filter out warm orangish light) to create a cool rendition. In several of the color digital photographs above, I preset the digital camera menu to record the exposure with a warm white residual, such as “5600 Kelvin” or “Cloudy”. On the other hand, to create a cooler rendition with a digital photographic camera (a archetype case would be winter scenes), I would typically preset a white residual past selecting a specific color temperature in degrees Kelvin. For example, in the 3rd photograph of this article of majestic Jökulsárlón, Iceland, I manually inputted a color temperature of 4800 degrees Kelvin to emphasize the coldness of the subarctic climate.

10) Conclusions

The take habitation point from this commodity is that light is the about instrumental tool that the lensman has to translate artistic vision into a photograph. The quality of light can be described in different ways and does not ever fit into neatly defined categories, and there is certainly overlap in descriptions. Yet one defines this quality, it certainly may concord unlike meanings past dissimilar photographers who have different life experiences and goals, every bit we would expect.

The directionality of light exerts a powerful influence on how a lensman crafts the limerick and makes the exposure. The directionality of the light, and thus the quality of the shadows, literally shapes how the image is visualized in the listen’s center and translated into a physical epitome and ultimately determines the emotion that the photographer wishes to convey. There is no ane ideal quality of light for all photographers for all scenarios. Information technology all depends on what the photographer wishes to construct and convey.

The color temperature of calorie-free and its relative warmth (or coolness) can be sought and/or manipulated to accomplish the desired result. Analogous to the directionality of light, how this property is visualized, crafted, and manipulated lies at the heart of the creative and visualization procedure.

In my apprehensive opinion, in lieu of expending precious time and emotional energy grappling with gear acquisition and upgrading to the “latest greatest gear”, a lensman’s exploits would be far better served by learning and exploring light itself. Utilise any gear you already have to explore your artistic vision, aqueduct your creativity, and hone your skill set. My best recommendation: scout the low-cal . . . hunt for the light . . . and exist inspired past it! As an exercise, leave your camera and lens at dwelling and exit and written report the lighting and your subject. Endeavor going out at different times of the day to examine the “quality” of the various properties of low-cal: the directionality, the shadows, the dimension of your subject, the color temperature, and discover for yourself how all of these attributes influence the construction and mood of your scene. Accept practiced field notes. Pack a notepad, pen, maybe a pair of binoculars, and a few tools (e.g., a polarizer filter, warming filter, composing card) and written report how the light and shadows evolve and then that when the decisive moment of opening your shutter arrives, you lot volition be in control to capture what you have visualized for your photo. In the cease, this volition brand y’all a happier and (hopefully) a more skilled and achieved photographer. And so, what are yous waiting for? The low-cal is out there waiting for
you lot.

Please, stay tuned for upcoming follow-up articles on “The Quality of Light“, including the special cases of the “second sunset”, fog, and storms as well an essay, “Does The Latest Greatest Gear
, where I will examine how the oldest and most vintage tools in photography are *notwithstanding*  existence used to create vivid photographs and works of fine art equally well as discuss whether perpetual gear “upgrades” have any bear upon on the overall quality and merit of one’s photographs.


  • Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Mural, Galen Rowell.
  • Galen Rowell’south Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, Galen Rowell.
  • Light For Visual Artists, Richard Yot.

All of these photographs are copyright protected. All rights reserved, Rick Keller © 2022. You may
copy, download, relieve, or reproduce these images without the expressed written consent of Rick Keller.


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Originally posted 2022-02-13 01:46:41.