Seeing light

I’m following an online photo workshop at the moment, called Find Your Eye with Kat Sloma. For the first lesson she asked us to shoot an object in different types of light – daylight, sunlight, lamplight, artificial light, and so on, using the camera in auto mode. An interesting exercise; I have experimented with various types of light before, of course, but never in such a deliberate way.

I’ve had confirmed for me two main conclusions:

First, the lighting conditions in this country are difficult in winter.

Shooting in lamplight or candlelight in the evening in my apartment requires a tripod; I need at least 800 ISO to get a non-blurry shot without a tripod, and my camera is old enough that I get a lot of noise in my images very quickly.  We’ve had brief moments of sun this week, but I was not able to seize the moment and do this exercise then.  I love shooting in direct sunlight during summer, like I did for instance here. Shooting in daylight on an overcast day turns out okay if a bit flat.

There’s an interesting mindfulness exercise here as well. I’ve mentioned before that my New Year’s Resolution is to focus more on light. Not only does this resolution make for better photography. Also, I am better able to fight the touch of seasonal affective disorder that always creeps up on me when I get up before the sun and go to bed long after the sun has set. I love the synergy effect here – essentially, getting better at my hobby makes me happier!

Second, I would love to experiment more with flash, on- and off-camera.

The two images I was the most happy with from this exercise are shown below. In both of these I had to adjust the exposure, since the camera underexposed them probably due to the fairly bright paper I chose as background. I have also increased the colour saturation, but not changed the colour otherwise, since the camera reproduced the colours fairly well.

The left-hand image shows the one where I used flash directed towards the necklace; the right-hand image is natural, overcast daylight. I really like the crisp shadows to the left, as opposed to the vaguer and more undefined shadows to the right. The flash also seems to bring out more details and make the image pop in a different way than the more flat image to the right.

All in all, I can only conclude that the key here is experimentation – to continue to be aware of the light and keep in mind which type of light works for what I want to achieve.

Seeing light and correcting colour

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About Jenny Graver

Living in Oslo, Norway, with her partner and their infant son, Jenny struggles for balance between all the things that makes life worth living - her family, her job in university administration, her writing, learning and her photography. View all posts by Jenny Graver

3 responses to “Seeing light

  • Kat

    Great post! How interesting that your resolution and this exercise coincide so nicely, at the beginning of the year. You are off to a good start! It is great that you are seeing what you like and don’t like in the comparison images. I’m so glad to have you in the class!

  • Marji

    Love your post and your resolution. You are very mindful with your observations for this exercise. Can’t wait to see the other observations you will make on the future assignments.

  • Jessica

    Sounds like a very interesting course… Light, especially off-camera flash, is something that I really want to experiment with too.

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