Canon ring light

Light Illuminates, Shadows Define

Light. That's really what photography is all about.

First, we need to learn how to see the light:
• the contrast range in the scene;
• the direction of light;
• the quality of light;
• the color of light.

Check out the light in the above image compared to the image I posted a few days of the same scene. What's the difference? Better light!

Light is one of the main things I talk about on my workshops. Speaking of which, I am still in Costa Rica teaching a workshop with my friend Rob Knight. Good fun!

Once we learn how to see the light, we need to learn how to control the light - on site and in the digital darkroom.

Because the sunset sky had a pastel quality to it, I applied the Pastel Filter in Nik Software's Color Efex Pro to my photography. For a discount on Nik's plug-ins, and all the plug-ins I use, click here.

I look for light. You should look for light.

Most often, natural light is the best light. Both of the pictures above were taken using only natural light. I got a good exposure by checking the histogram on my camear's LCD monitor. Always check your histogram. It's you light meter.

Don't ya just love this tiny flower, about the size of a pinky fingernail, that looks like a ballerina!

Light illuminate, shadows define. Shadow can be your friend. Shadows are the soul of the picture. Shadows add a sense of depth and dimension to a picture.

Sure, we need how to see the light, but we also need to learn how to see the shadows.

Explore the light,

Soon Come: Battle of the Close-up Photography Tips: Pons vs. Sammon

Photograph © Rick Sammon
First there was the "Battle of the HDR Photo Tips" with my friend Trey Ratcliff. Type "Battle of the HDR Tips" in the search window of my blog to see the different rounds.

Well, the next battle will be the "Battle of the Close-up Photography Tips," with my friend Juan Pons.

Juan and I enjoy doing the Digital Photo Experience Podcast. But heck, first and foremost, we are photographers. So, our week-long "battle" will be a blast. 

Here's a quick tip for starters: If you are serious about close-up photography, get a ringlight. A ringlight can produce shadowless lighting and ratio lighting (because you can adjust the flash output of the flash tubes). It lets you shoot hand-held close-up photos – like my photo of this red-eye tree frog. A ringlight also lets you shoot at small apertures for good depth-of-field.

Here's a link for more info on the ringlight I use: 
Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Stay tuned for details.

Hey, if you like close-up photography, and butterflies, check out the iPad app that Juan and I developed: Butterfly Wonders.

Explore the light,

Mozart and Composition – Photo Composition, That Is

Mozart once said (well, maybe he said it more than once): I’m not so much concerned about the notes, but the space between the notes.

As a musician (I studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston), I can relate to that quote – because the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. No space . . . and you have just noise.

In photography, space is important, too. If all the elements in a scene are jammed up, your picture will be a mess.

These two pictures “work” because there is space between the subjects in the scenes.

You can create space by orchestrating a scene. In the making of the top image, we asked the riders to space out the horses during this set up shot. The first shots was just a jumble of shapes.

In the making of the bottom image, I carefully chose a shooting angle that clearly showed the butterflies mating. (I used my Canon ring light, by the way, for that even lighting.)

Your assignment: take a few pictures this weekend and focus on space.

P.S. Speaking of being at Berklee, world-famous Photoshop Expert Eddie Tapp and Canon’s Steve Inglima are both skilled musicians. So is artist John Paul Caponigro and the Mac Group’s Joe Brady. Tony Sweet is an accomplished jazz drummer. Scott Kelby? He plays keyboards, guitar and he sings. And… Ansel Adams played the piano! I guess photographers and musicians have something in common: We all think about space.