It is all about the light

January 04, 2014  •  2 Comments

It is all about the light

     Many people think that creating great images is about shooting in exotic locations.  Photography is not so much about what you shoot but rather about light.  The word photography comes from two Greek words: photo and graphoPhoto means light.  Grapho means to write (or by extension to draw).  Photography is thus writing or drawing with light.

Big Sur SunsetI was shooting the other way and did not see the clouds light up behind me. My wife called my attention to this scene. Look around you every few minutes as light changes fast.

     Totally beginner photographers often talk about cameras.  Better photographers talk about lenses.  Good photographers discuss tripods and support systems.  Advanced photographers talk about techniques.  Great photographers have learnt to read the light and talk about it.

     Great photographers develop their skills at reading the light. With reading the light comes a growing vocabulary to describe light.  Some examples are: soft light, flat light, defused light, twilight, sweet light, alpenglow, harsh light, side light, back light, catch light, crisp light, warm light, cold light, etc.

     Photographing in exotic locations does not guarantee great shots.  Even such locations regularly deliver blah shots because of shooting in bad light.  Conversely, great light can make even the boring special.  The best light to shoot landscapes in is typically just before to just after sunset and sunrise and on the edges of storms.


Big Sur SunsetThis image has nothing to offer but nice light. It is the light that makes it. Light almost always makes or breaks landscape shots.

     Watch the light. Read the light. Chase the light. Capture the light.


Pierre Steenberg
Thank you Sarie. Deliberatly start noticing light and how it changes, especially just before and after sunrise and sunset.
Sarie Engelbrecht(non-registered)
Pierre the pictures are beautiful. I liked it to learn about light, and when I look at your pictures I can see what the light is doing. You have the art of taking very beautiful pictures of scenes that would otherwise just be seen as nice. Thanks for sharing with us.
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