Indy Photo Coach 9:40pm, 18 August 2009
The great painters of Greece knew what extraordinary light meant to their paintings. What elements make light so extraordinary?
These elements are intertwined and all are necessary to have great light.
Color - Light color is expressed in degrees Kelvin. At sunrise, the light color evolves to a golden yellow with a color temperature around 3,500 degrees Kelvin. The same effect happens at sunset.
Quality - The light from sunrise to about 1 ½ hours after and again from 1 ½ hours before to sunset are by far, the best quality of light. This low-angled directional light accents texture. The hard, harsh mid-day light is the worst light for photographers.
Direction - The direction of light comes in three different types: side-lighting, front-lighting and back-lighting with each having its own application. Side-lighting, such as the light at sunrise and again at sunset, is the best for bringing out the texture in a subject.
Front-lighting tends to minimize texture, reduces form and flattens out a scene. If used in early morning, this light is good when shooting landscape shots.
Backlighting is great for making silhouettes from graphic shapes and close-up shots of translucent subjects.
The effect you want on your photograph determines which type of lighting to use. As explorers of light, we constantly look for the three intertwined elements in our quest for the perfect light.
1) Shoot an image (or several) incorporating all three elements
2) Find a landscape subject facing either north or south.
3) Be on the scene around 1 hour before sunset.
4) Record your images with your subject side-lit by the soft golden light.
By Ron Kness
These tips and more can be learned in any Indy Photo Coach class or lesson.
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