In what light do you photograph?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Donald Miller, Mar 25, 2006.

What light is most common in your photography?

  1. Make mine up front (front lit)

    3 vote(s)
    3.5%
  2. I like it backwards (back lit)

    7 vote(s)
    8.2%
  3. Who said sideways? (side lit)

    17 vote(s)
    20.0%
  4. Any light is alright so long as it isn't midnight.

    58 vote(s)
    68.2%
  1. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I am interested in ascertaining in what light conditions you normally photograph. I found a while back that I was consistantly the same.
     
  2. mark

    mark Member

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    My shooting is in whatever light is available at the time I get to photograph. With two younguns, a job and often school I find I do not get to shoot very much, so I make do with the light I have when i can shoot.

    If I had to pick, I prefer morning light and evening light for BW. Not dawn or dusk light, just morning and evening. For color I love cloudy days, dawn and dusk light. That weird light that shows up after the sun has set sometimes is amazing but I have yet to figure out how to use it for color.

    I don't care about the position of the light.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your choices are too narrow.

    I shoot at midnight- live bands on stage, also moonlight scenes.

    What about poor light or dusk.

    Also what about foggy days where the sun never shines. . . . . . .

    All these are great for photography.

    Ian
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Midnight can be quite bright around here, and a little further north it can be very bright and sunny.

    A surprising number of my photos were taken with backlighting. An equally large number of my photos are really pictures of light more than with light.
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ian, I realized that I had missed some obvious replies after I had posted the poll. I tried to edit it to include more and either I don't understand or the polls can not be edited once posted. Sorry about that...perhaps a latter poll will include more choices. Thanks for you reply.

    It would seem, based upon your response, with the possible exception of bands that you prefer low contrast situations. Interesting.
     
  6. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    As little as possible.
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Given the choice I like to do contrasty stuff ala Ed Weston (sans nudes).
     
  8. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Artificial, mostly. Tungsten, that would be.
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Cleveland and Seattle are almost the same in the number of sunny days and annual precipitation — roughly 65 days and 37 inches, respectively. That is not much sun. This means we are just happy to see any light of day.

    In my abandoned greenhouse project I am often having to wait ten days at a time to work with sunny rays and shadows amongst the angles and decay. When it does come I study what we have and shoot not wanting to miss the opportunity. I take a compass and anticipate what it will look like at different hours of the day, planning to work an area that might look better lit from a different angle if and when there is sun at that hour.

    John Powers
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i don't like bright sun, harsh shadows or tons of contrast.
    give me an overcast lighting any day of the week and i'll be happy, even just after it rains, so all the colors are muted and the buildings (brick or stone) wicked up some water and change tone.


    - john
     
  11. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I like side lighting, particularly in the early morning, just about sunrise, or just at sunset. It casts a warm glow on the surroundings. Many times I will use an 81A or 81B to enhance that feeling of warmth.
     
  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    When I used to do a lot of outdoor portraits, I tried to always do them at magic hour. (1/2 hour before sunset)

    The light is incredible and the difference between a highlight and shadow was usually 3:1 or 5:1.

    If that wasn't possible I tried to manipulate the light with scrims for subtractive lighting techniques, or use reflectors.

    For scenics I always shoot early morning or late in the day.

    Michael
     
  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I don't discriminate against photons of any wavelength, angularity, quantity, or in their crispness or diffusion of character, or in the state of the atmosphere they are passing through. Anytime is a good time to photograph.

    Murray
     
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  15. jimcollum

    jimcollum Member

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    almost never in direct sunlight.. either dawn (favorite time), dusk, or foggy/overcast days
     
  16. 25asa

    25asa Member

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    Both ambient and manipulated.
     
  17. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I'm grateful for whatever I'm given. :smile:
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Seasons

    In our country you have to Dave, it must be the only country in the world that has four seasons, in one day.
     
  19. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I can't really vote on this either. I've shot at 2 AM under normal streetlights, at noon with very bright sun, in the morning with the sun behind me and in front of me and in the evening with the sun behind me and in front of me. I could say all or none of the above.
     
  20. esanford

    esanford Member

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    I love the early morning light from just before dawn to a couple of hours after sunrise; or the evening light a couple of hours before dusk to the after glow right after sunset. My camera is normally stored at home or in the trunk of my car between 10AM and 3PM. I also like the early morning fog that we have here in the winters in the swamps in Eastern North Carolina...
     
  21. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    As with most things, the answer is: it depends.

    If I want to photograph a building that's on the south side of the street, I have to either move within the shadow created by the building, or wait for an overcast day. It doesn't make much sense to photograph a building with the sun shining into your lens.

    I love to photograph trees, but only the birch (and others with near-white bark) trees look good in direct sunlight. Darker trees don't seem, to me, to photograph well in direct sun, so I will wait for a cloudy, or even rainy, day.

    In general, I would say that I prefer either front light, or non-directional light, depending on the subject and the subject's orientation with regard to the sun.
     
  22. dphill

    dphill Member

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    Overcast Mostly

    I live in Western Oregon, the mid Willamette Valley to be exact.
    Bright overcast, dark overcast... very low contrast 95% of the time. Let's not talk about the 1000 types of rain. That's Winter. For Spring and Fall, the low contrast time moves to about 60% and there is only about 800 different types of rain. Summer is a grab bag, but last of August and first of September are generally high contrast and then I have a choice about lighting.

    My preference though is back and low side lighting.

    Dan
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Perhaps the word prefer is wrong, but many years ago when I explored and fine tuned my exposures using the Zone system I made a point of exploring all daylight, twilight etc lighting situations.

    I made a point of shooting in harsh mid-day summer sun, fog, snow scenes in fact all sorts of different lighting conditions, and spent a year shooting one small cast iron bridge, perhaps I should add alongside all my other work.

    The outcome was the ability to have sufficient control so that I could make a series of images which included diptychs which could sit on an exhibition wall regardless of the lighting conditions at the time of shooting. What interested me the most was the diptychs where an image made on a sunny contrasty day sat in the same frame as a shot from the same viewpoint etc made in the winter on a foggy day with snow on the ground.

    That exercise has meant that years later I still realise what images are possible on days most would write off as total unsuitable for photography.

    We don't have the best weather here in the UK, and so it's useful knowing how to make the most of our dank foggy days, although thanks to global warming they are now quite infrequent. Ten years ago fog might not lift for a week !

    So back to your supposition, I guess I'd just say that sometimes those low contrast situations are interesting and fruitful photographically, but I shoot in all conditions, and have no preferances.

    Ian
     
  24. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    i am a equal-opportunity photographer.
     
  25. jeffneedham

    jeffneedham Subscriber

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    i'll shoot in any light i can, just need the right film, equipment, etc.
     
  26. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    Well, really, the only light I don't like is the boring overcast sky one we seem to get all the time.