Everyone whoâ€™s been through grammar school knows that photography comes from the Greek words for â€œlightâ€ and â€œwrite.â€ In a word, photography is writing with light. But for those of us who write with light, sometimes two things can happen. One, we focus more on the content of the photoâ€”the elements in it, what the image â€œmeans.â€ Two, we have days when every thing we point our camera at says, â€œBlah.â€ These two things may not seem related, but maybe they are.
Take landscape photography, for instance. Iâ€™m not a landscape expert or one who shoots a lot of landscapes; most of my shots are portraits. But I like looking at landscapes, and I just came across this article at Digital Photography School saying â€œShoot the light, not the land,â€ and how the light is really what makes or breaks a photograph. I tend to agreeâ€”the landscapes that have dramatic light are the ones I fave on Flickr or comment on in other forums. Light turns me on.
Which brings me to my second point. I think on days when we feel like the camera is bringing us blah, we should look for the light.
Light on a bunch of dead leaves can make the scene look alive.
That means the content doesnâ€™t matter. We look for pockets of light that drape over a forest. We search for streams of light across mundane objects, like a chair at a driving range.
Light streaming from the side can make an uncomfortable iron chair look quite inviting.
We wait for the sunset to reflect its light on clouds above a pond with a rock sitting in it.
Dramatic light reflected on cloud reflected on a pond can make even a rock look magical.
Light is what inspired the first photographers, and light should inspire us now.
How about you? What’s your love affair with light?
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