Learning to see light will be one of the things that improves your photography, taking it to the next level. If you have read the lighting chapter you will now understand that I like to simplify and categorise light sources in the following way.
Front lighting – the light is behind you and throwing light onto your subject. Your back is towards the primary light source.
Side lighting – the light is coming from one side, enhancing contrast, providing texture, emphasising tone.
Back lighting – the light is coming at you, the camera is pointing towards the light source, casting silhouettes, adding contrast to your images, resulting in heavy blacks, and heavy shadows.
This project differs from the others however, in that the subject is the light itself. Go out and shoot the way the light is falling. It does not matter what else is in the frame. The shot is of the way the light is working in relation to the rest of the content of the frame.
Look for shadows caused by light, look for dark areas and light areas. Look for buildings that are lit on one side but not the other. Look for sparkling light, light in puddles, light reflecting off of glass. Light is everywhere, we take it for granted and rarely actually ‘look’ at it.
Go out and take a series of shots where you can distinctly ‘see’ the light in the shot. Where even a non-photographer could see where the light was coming from and how it was illuminating the scene.
Try and get shots at different times of the day and study how the light changes. Try shooting a scene early in the morning and capture a series of images, then go back to the same spot later in the day, early evening perhaps and try and take more or less the same shots. Study the results when you get home and see how the light has changed the scenes. Learn to understand how the light affects the feeling in an image and try to incorporate this into your shots.
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