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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seeing the Light - Finally!

In his book Understanding Exposure, Bryan Peterson talks about the significance of different types of light in photography. Learning to understand this significance, and see the different types of light, has been one of my biggest struggles as a photographer.

The lighting circumstances under which a photograph is taken can drastically affect the photo and can be the difference between a ho-hum picture and a showstopper. One aspect of seeing the light is understanding how the light changes over the course of a day and what this means for your photographs. For instance, sunlight at noon is a very different light than sunlight at sunrise and sunset. Mid-day, the light is harsh and contrasty. But in the early morning and evening, the sun is much softer and warmer. The same subject shot in exactly the same way at different times of day can yield startling different results.

I have been struggling to see the differences with my eyes for months, and, suddenly, it is becoming clear. A few weeks ago, I looked out the window at sunset and noticed that everything looked a pink. Now, everywhere I look, I see the changes in the light. My neighbor’s house is surrounded by a golden glow at 7:00 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., the magic is gone. At 6:00 in the evening, my fence looks like it is on fire. By 6:30, it is back to its normal state.

This is my fence at 6:25 p.m.

This is my fence one minute earlier, at 6:24 p.m.

What a difference one minute makes!

My baby in the car.

And just a few minutes earlier.

Do you see the warm glow in this picture that is absent from the one above?

My wall at 7:30 a.m. and a few minutes later.

I hope these examples help set you on your way to "seeing the light" and that you gain your sight more quickly than I did! Experiment, take pictures, and have fun!

Love, -40

P.S. If you haven't read Understanding Exposure, I highly recommend it!

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