Whew! I haven’t been reading this book like I want to. I have been reading it off and on, but lets be honest here, it’s a lot like a text book, and I fall to sleep almost every time I sit (err…lie) down to read. I guess it all comes with being pregnant. I am SO tired. All.the.time. I have to finish it soon because I can’t renew the book anymore, and I need to return it in a week. So, here’s a quick review of Chapters 4 and 5.
Chapter 4: Composing with Light
– light is essential in photography. Because of this, someone who desires to be a good photographer will seek out and learn as much about light as possible. A photographer loves light.
-Light is the integral part of composition. We don’t need just light, we need great light to take great photographs.
-“Best” light varies from photographer to photographer. It is all in personal preference. Finding good light is a matter of experience, knowledge, and using the right tools.
-Something to remember is that what makes good light in photography may not be what we consider good light in “real life.”
- Bad (active) weather = good photographs. The times right after a storm or between two storms are great times to photograph. Light can change a common place scene for just a moment, and it is that moment that we want to capture.
- Chiaroscuro: lit yet unlit, dark and yet light. Chiaroscuro is a contrast of two lighting situations that are opposites of each other.
-Knowing the position of the sun at a given time of year is essential. (There is a lot on this…too much to try to explain here.) Winter makes for great light because the sun is at a constant slant and the snow acts as a natural reflector. AWESOME…too bad winter also = freezing cold…at least in Iowa.
-Reflectors are a great tool to have, because they can take away shadows and mimic the light from sunrise or sunset.
-Natural reflected light is just that, reflected light. There is no direct sunlight. Reflected light can be saturated and colorful, intense and glowy, it is also a very soft light.
-Air light: only source of light is the open blue sky. This happens at sunrise/sunset when the sun is just below the horizon, but still lighting the sky. This light can also be found in narrow canyons that are just a few feet wide.
-Light quality changes throughout the day. A good experiment to try would be to take photos of the same object in the same place at different times of the day. Notice the changes in the color.
-Star trails…are awesome. I still need to figure out how to do it. I need a better lens though.
-Backlight is very dramatic lighting. The sun must be in a low position for backlighting to work. Basically, place the subject in front of the sun. It will highlight the contours of the object or scene. You can choose whether you want the sun in the scene or not.
-Open shade. One of the best kept secrets of photography, minimal contrast and no shadows.
-Reflections. You need: a body of water (large enough to capture the subject), and the element to be reflected. Reflection is a purely visual effect, so it is great for photography. You may have to do quite a bit of editing to get it just how you would like it, but it is worth the work.
-Silhouettes. Can be any color…not just black. Usually flat. They simplify complex objects.
-Lighting is not predictable, so be ever ready.
-Snow. Simplifies compositions, softens the contours of images, lace-like quality.
-Rainbows. Fleeting and unpredictable. Best rainbows (for photographing) happen at sunset.
-Light shafts. Can be created by grabbing a handful of sand and throwing it into the air. Letting it settle for a bit and then photograph.
Chapter 5: Composing with Color
-Three variables, Hue, Saturation, lightness
-Munsell’s color system (too much to put here)
-Color balance: adjusting the image so that neutral colors are represented correctly. Try to correct white/color balance while the image is still in RAW format. Balance is adjusted by changing the temperature, and the tint in a photo.
-Color Palette: selcting a range of colors that are going to be used in a photograph. Color palette is more artistic. Give yourself the freedom to alter the image and develop a personal style.
-Saturation: it is important concept, but often over used. It is important to find the best saturation for a given image. One with too much saturation looks fake. Over-saturation is easy, and that is why it happens a lot (either in an attempt to be artistic or to find a good balance). Adding saturation is a lot like adding more salt and pepper to something you cook (because it lacks flavor) instead of finding the right spices to add. How do you prevent over-saturation? Be aware of how often it happens (a lot), and acquire a taste for how much saturation is enough. This is best achieved by comparing your work to other work that you think has excellent saturation.
-Color seeing aides: includes things like filters, lcd screens, nigrometer, munsell color tree, color meters, gray cards and white balance, as well as the macbeth color chart (again, there is too much to list here).
-Important to take notes in the field. This will help you remember the feelings you had and what you were imagining when you took the photo.