You often hear photographers talking about morning light and the"golden hour" just before sundown. Both are coveted when scheduling and setting up a shot. But if we limit ourselves to those two timeframes, we miss so much of the rest of the day. I was thinking about this quite a bit after reading The Visual Toolbox this week.
We do have a number of ways to work with light...any light, whether it be the bright sun of midday, studio strobes, speedlights, or even the dull light of a cloudy day. We just have to decide if we want the light to reflect off the subject, shine through the subject, how intense we want the light, and if the light we are using is adding to the quality of the photo.
I started off this week by using dull ambient light, a neighbor's exposed rock garden, one speedlight and Luke-the-I-can't-sit-still-ever dog (he is actually worse than Billie, if you can believe that). Luke and I had to trek down a steep hill with a camera on a tripod, and a bag harnessed to my back holding the speedlight, a second lens and my remote control. As if all this wasn't enough, I decided to use an 85mm manual focus lens to start, because I feel that I should be using this lens more, learning to focus on a spot and then leaving it there. Here is the photo.
I would give the quality of light a "meh." If this were a client shoot, I would have moved to a different spot, but we are about experimenting in this blog circle, and learning by doing, so I persevered and used what I had.
The next photo is a real departure from the norm for me. But, we spent an entire week early on in our text specifically looking to use blur in our images, instead of having everything crisp. I thought about this, and about the end-of-the-day sun streaming down the steep hill we had to walk back up and decided to see if I could set up a photograph that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. I wasn't sure Luke would be the right dog, but in the end, I think he was the perfect dog.
So we have seen dull light, intense light, and finally, below in late-day light, Luke's and my wish for you to have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend, in whatever light you choose! I actually think he is smiling in this photo.