Bad light

Have you ever thought, or said, the following?

Waah. It’s raining, I can’t take pictures.

There’s no sun, I can’t take pictures.

Don’t you believe it. A cloudy, rainy day is better than a sunny day in so many ways.

  • No harsh shadows to wrinkle clothes (or faces)
  • No squinting eyes
  • Saturated colour
  • No impossible contrast to handle
  • Those great raindrops

The other day, I took a few snaps during the Henry’s Creative Urban Photography walkaround. Here’s a few of them: are those saturated colours not beautiful?

Leaf in the rain, by Michael Willems

Leaf in the rain

Flower in the rain, by Michael Willems

Flower in the rain

Turning Leaves in the rain, by Michael Willems

Turning Leaves in the rain

Oakville in the rain, by Michael Willems

Oakville in the rain

Tired Flowers, by Michael Willems

Tired Flowers

Oakville plants in the rain, by Michael Willems

Oakville plants in the rain

Oakville door, by Michael Willems

Oakville door

A rainy, overcast, dreary day: provided you expose properly (remember exposure compensation. Hint: it’ll likely be “minus”), there’s really nothing quite like it.

Let there be light

Yes.. but what type of light?

One reason light is such a complicated subject is that there are so many ways of describing it; so many different aspects to light. You might think “it’s just photons”. Yes, but you can usefully talk about the light’s:

  1. Direction
  2. Intensity
  3. Dynamic Range
  4. Hardness
  5. Colour intensity
  6. Polarization

And also, in a picture, about such things as:

  1. Colour contrast: harmonious vs. contrasting colours
  2. High-Key vs. Low-Key light

All these properties can vary, so all these are useful ways to describe light.  “What is the light” should really talk about all six of the top ones… can you see the complexity yet? So we classify them together as “type”. This helps.. a bit. But it is an oversimplification.

In the coming months I will talk about these. For now, try to think in these terms and try to see how the property in questions changes your photos. As an experiment, you may want to do a high-low photo for each property.