Light - The All Important Element in Photography

September 12, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

As summer gives way to fall and many of you in the north and north east begin to see the beginning of a beautiful time of the year as the fall colors just begin to show we notice that the quality of ambient light is starting to change. Shadows will begin to become longer and the sun will be making its annual trip further south of North America. The days are getting shorter and for many of us even though we are still under oppressive heat and glaring daylight with dark shadows and washed out colors it won't be long before things start to cool off and the light starts to warm up.

Light is the most important element that any photographer has to work with. It has different qualities and color temperatures that can have a dramatic impact on our images. It is all a matter of how we make use of it and understand all of its various qualities. Rather you are an avid amateur or a well seasoned professional such as Michael Freeman, Freeman Patterson or David Noton (three of my favorites) light in combination with obtaining the best perspective and composition sets our images apart from the ones that nearly made it to those that stand out in a crowd. This morning I had the opportunity to meet with a fellow photographer who shoots weddings and we were discussing the use of light, lighting equipment and studio strobes verses the "Strobist". I shared with him that you will always find me with a light meter hanging from my neck. For me it doesn't matter if it is shooting in the mid day sun or a beautiful sunset or sunrise in the "Golden Hours" I will always have my light meter set and ready to use. He asked why I didn't just rely on the excellent evaluative metering found in my Canon EOS 5D MK II's. It isn't because I don't fully trust them, but there is something to be said for making a comparison between the ambient reading from the light meter and the reflective reading taken by the camera in one of its five modes.

If you are so inclined I certainly would recommend "Michael Freeman's Perfect Exposure: The Professional's Guide to Capturing Perfect Digital Photographs" by none other than Michael Freeman. The images are beautiful and Michael Freeman makes the subject matter interesting with excellent diagrams, explanations and examples. It is a book that will provide you a wealth of information on "Light" and how our digital equipment handles it verses back in the "film days". I actually miss how chromes responded to light with a different slope with a distinctive "Heel" and "Toe" verses today's digital sensors. Michael Freeman's book will take away the mystery that seems to surround the use of light for so many photographers.

Learn light and you will unlock a world full of wonderful images just waiting to be taken

 


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