Thursday, 5 August 2010

WORKING THE LIGHT

Hello again everyone...

I thought it was time for a new post since we're already a few days into August. My, how this year is just rocketing past!!

Sometimes we find ourselves in that "sweet spot" for photography. You know - the golden morning/evening light from the sun teetering on the brink of the horizon falling over your shoulder and straight onto whatever animal or bird happens to be caught in your viewfinder at that moment. Everything just comes together...like these giraffe I found the other day in the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa:


More often than not, however, we find ourselves in a situation where it's just not possible to get into that "sweet spot". In many cases it's an insurmountable task to get ourselves in that position due to terrain constraints or the fact that you might not be allowed to go off-road in certain reserves (at least that's the case for most of the places I go on safari to), but at other times there's just not enough T-I-M-E to do so...these "truly" golden minutes only last for a few fleeting moments after all.


So what to do???

The answer is quite simple - and yet so easy to forget once we're in that situation: WORK THE LIGHT, or otherwise put, let the light work for you. Whether you are in a position to capture the light from the side...


 or from right in front of you...


...there are ways to still utilise this dramatic twilight light to good effect. By tweaking your camera's exposure bias you can use this light to drastically alter the mood of the image you are capturing. Instead of getting a "stock-standard" shot with the light fully on the subject, you can depict the creature in a very different way and, depending on the surrounding, get some added bonus (like the "grass-on-fire" in the springbok portrait above). When the sun is directly behind the subject, it will create a wondeful "rim-lighting" effect, enhancing the outlines and distinct features.



Whether you are using full manual mode or one of the semi-manual modes like Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority, play around with your exposure settings so that you deliberately underexpose the shot by 1/3, 2/3 or even a full stop or two (depending on the brightness of the light). It will help if you have a bit of luck on your side and your subject is cooperative while you play around with the settings until you find what works for the scene.



Tomorrow marks the start of a long weekend in South Africa (Monday being a public holiday), so I hope I have encouraged you to go seek out something to try this out on!

Keep well, and until next time, keep the shutters firing...

Morkel Erasmus

6 comments:

  1. Superb series of captures.
    Wouldn't mind to go out and do so. Will have to wait for finances to improve though.
    God Bless.
    Regards
    Christo.

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  2. thanks a lot for the kind comments Etienne & Christo! glad you liked it...

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  3. wow is all i can say.superb.

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