In the second of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I have posted this article to share a series of photographs (along with the thought processes behind them) that captures the quintessence of a well-known and spectacular light display, often referred to as the ‘Second Sunset’. As with many of my previous articles, my goal with this post is to encourage my fellow photographers to be inspired by light, composition, and mood, to spur them to explore their creative potential, and to get out and make beautiful photographs.
In the first of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I have posted this article to share a series of photographs (along with the thought processes behind them) that I hope will accentuate the interplay of light, directionality, shadows, and mood in landscape photography. As previously discussed, the directionality of light is a powerful factor in defining the quality of shadows, the contrast, textures, and three-dimensionality of a scene, as well as the mood and emotion that the photograph will convey. In particular, unidirectional light qualities (e.g., side lighting and backlighting) serve this purpose well in landscape photography.
Recently, I had the pleasure of studying TIME Magazine’s Special Edition, “100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time”, from which I came away captivated by this stunning collection of images of some of the most profound and influential events in human history.
In a follow-up to a previous article, “A Study in Vision, Light, and Shadows”, I decided to share my thoughts and experiences on my most inspiring topic in photography – light. For simplicity, I decided to write about light in a narrow context from the perspective and experience of a landscape photographer, since outdoors scenes are what I gravitate to. Much of the analysis and discussion that follows is equally applicable to other genres of photography, such as portraits, macro, still-life, and commercial photography. In this article, I will cover broadly what quality of light means for me in landscape photography as well as discuss a variety of scenarios where the scenic photographer can use different properties of light to create a given effect. Please note that this discussion is based on my own personal observations and experiences, which may differ from those of other photographers. My goal is to help beginning landscape photographers understand the different qualities of sunlight and how this instrumental tool can be harnessed to fulfill the visualization process.
Last week, for our How Was This Picture Made? series, I had posted a landscape photograph to share and discuss. Thanks to our PL commentators, Gary Bunton, Brian Webster, and Shane, for their participation and sage commentary on the techniques employed and the overall considerations. Well done!
In advance of my upcoming article on the directionality and quality of light, composition, and mood, I decided to post a landscape photograph to invite our readers to share their thoughts on how this photo was visualized and constructed. I made this particular photograph at one of my favorite subjects – the coastal bluffs at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego, CA.
Two months ago, while browsing the web page of an on-line analog photography store in Germany, Fotoimpex, I came across a link to a video entitled, “Silver & Light”, made by a brilliant artist named Ian Ruhter. The video takes the viewer inside the thought process and passion behind one man’s dream to create photographic art using one of the oldest photographic processes ever invented – the wet plate collodion. I found the story tantalizing and inspiring. Given the recent publication from our enthusiastic and talented guest poster, Simone Conti, on a modern-day version of a comparably old photographic process, I thought this video would be of interest to our Readers. Some notable quotes from the video: “If you had been searching your whole life for something you love and you found it, what would you be willing to sacrifice?”, “The only limitations there are, are the ones that I put on myself”, and “I am literally pouring my soul onto every plate.” Please, enjoy.
Three years ago, when I made my first photo tour through the magnificent landscapes of Iceland, I fondly recall an interesting dinner discussion with my fellow photographers. We had just returned to our guest house from a memorable photo shoot. As we shared good wine, food, and laughs, the discussion pleasantly turned to photography. After the seemingly prosaic and obligatory discussion of camera gear, we got around to more interesting topics such as light, travel destinations, and our individual exploits. One pleasant, wise, and well-traveled gentleman from Holland made an interesting comment that has resonated with me ever since. With a blend of delight and amusement, he said, and I paraphrase him:
Last week, I had posted a landscape photograph for installment #8 of our How Was This Picture Taken? series. Judging from the comments, many of our readers took this exercise very seriously and posted deliberate and insightful remarks on how this photograph was visualized and constructed. I enjoyed both the aesthetic and technical analyses offered by our readers, some of whom were correct on many aspects of why and how I chose to make this photograph. Well done!
For Part 8 of our How Was This Picture Taken? series, I have chosen the following photograph to share. On two recent road trips into the desert near my home base in Southern California, I had the pleasure of going on two landscape photo shoots, both of which I plan to write a photo essay for Photography Life readers very soon. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun and educational to post one particular photograph and invite our readers to share their thoughts on how this photo was visualized and constructed. Also, I thought that by sharing technical aspects on the making of this photograph in advance of my upcoming essay, the narrative and images in my essay might be aesthetically richer.