Saturday, October 25, 2008

Light, It Might Be The Only Thing

So I've been at this photography thing now for a few years in this incarnation. I took mostly B&W photos years ago with film and a camera I can't even remember the brand or model, but I know if was either a Nikon or Canon and that when I had it was already old (1990's).

It's been said many times and by many greats that have come before me, but that's just because it's true. It's all about the light.

Read on for some more and see some examples of what I think works, and what lacks that special something, special light.

Photography is indeed just capturing light values. Subject like foxes & birds, Landscapes, Seascapes they're all fine by themselves. As a photographer, we can show off their glory, their uniqueness, their beauty in decent light. But when the light is special, things get exciting.

Here's my fist example, it's Great Falls so you already know it's great, but...

Landscapes and Light
I took this in 2006 and that's when I didn't know much about anything.
Great Falls

Since then Great Falls has been one of my favorite places to visit, and I've now been over 60 or 70 time in 3 years. Here's a recent photo of the same place.
Great Falls National Park MD/VA

Birds and Light
Here's an eagle photo I actually like a bunch, but the light is flat and low. Eagles are very challenging subjects to expose well. They've got white and nearly black feathers. So, you cannot expose for just one extreme in normal light and get both extremes well (white and black).
Bald Eagle 2 of 3 @ Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland

And here's an example of stronger light and the subject in a great angle to pick up some light and look great.
Bald Eagle With Nest Material - Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD

I think these next two are both Cooper's Hawks, and the light is very different a far as angles and what's lit.
Coopers Hawk (??) @ DC Zoo (free)

Cooper's Hawk @ Portland Maine

The thing to realize is that making good light happen is possible. Sometimes it is getting out to shoot early or late in the day. Other times it is walking down a path that is lit well on just one side. If so, I'd suggest spending most of your time looking on the side of the path with the better light...

Read that in any way you like. It's meant to be a metaphor for seeing, anticipating, and then making something happen to the light.





Avi Revivo said...

Very interesting post. Thanks!

Holly said...

I was in the woods yesterday up here in NY with my little canon S5 looking for interesing things to photo (and hoping for some wildlife) Next time I venture out, I will remember your thoughts on light, Jon. You certainly have learned alot in your years of experiences and it shows. As always, thank you for sharing your wildlife photos - your work is inspiring!