Playing with light

Playing with light

I've been playing with light lately.  As a photographer there are many ways you can go as far as what you want to shoot.   For me, an image has to have emotion and for it to have emotion it must move me.  Sure I've taken great photos of dogs that are just that, great but they aren't amazing.  Amazing is everything coming together.  But you must always remember that photography is very much in the eye of the beholder.  Personal taste plays a huge part in photography; just like any other type of art.  What I think is great, others might really dislike.  Taste, it is all personal taste.

This image is adorable for many reasons.  The light here is overcast, making it even with no shadows.  Penny's eyes are naturally lit nicely by the light hitting my lens and reflecting in her eyes.   Plus, she is just plain adorable.

This is about as back lit as you can get.  The resulting image was what I was going for; it was a lot of work and hard on the eyes to get it.  Even though looking at Luke on the grass before me with my eye was not what resulted in the image.  I had to shoot directly into the sun which under exposed Luke but illuminated the outer lining of him and his ball with the added lens flare from the sun.

This type of image is a mystery to many.  "How do you get that black background?" is a common question.  The sun was coming into my living room beautifully so by putting Elsa in the direct sun beam and having no sun behind her, this is the result.  Expose properly for Elsa in the sun and the rest is underexposed.  

So I've been playing with the light, which means I've been shooting a lot more than dogs recently.  Light can make or break an image; it can make the difference between great and amazing.  Light is one of the most difficult things to perfect and work with; it is always changing.  But light is also one of those things that is easily overlooked.  Focusing (pardon the pun) on light is a challenge and requires patience.  Often there is nothing you can do about lighting, it is what it is and you work with what you have.  But given a choice, anytime other than midday is always the best. It is still bright but the light from the sun is not coming from straight above.

Just about midday from the looks of the shadow.  Not great lighting but fine for this type of shot.  A bit lower would have resulted in a larger shadow on the ground. 

As far as dogs are concerned, lighting can really improve an image.  Often when the light or sun is high, it can make getting a great shot very difficult.  Eyes are dark when the sun is high as a shadow is cast over them.  But in low light you can get the light to hit the eyes which can give an image more life.  Two black holes as eyes is fine if there is something else in the image that is offering emotion.  But typically eyes are important with a dog photo.  If not, then don't worry about the eyes.  If the eyes are important then you need to use a flash; yes in full sunlight, a flash.  A flash will give those lifeless black holes some life; even the smallest glimmer can bring them to life.

This was an early morning shoot, the sun was coming up to the right of the photo which lit both dog's faces nicely.  It also gave a nice shadow.  

Having your camera at the ready is a good idea when trying to capture just the right light.  That is when you are relying on natural light and not using set up lighting.  

I'm a rule breaker, always have been so I like to break photography rules.  "Don't shoot into the sun" is one of those rules; I say shoot into the sun but you gotta know what you are doing. If you just put your camera on auto and shoot into the sun you will get a silhouette; which is nice if that is what you want.  Otherwise use a flash or you can adjust your settings in your camera to over expose.  But typically I'd use a flash to save the exposure of the background.  But there are times when an over or under exposed image are breathtaking.

Seeing the light can take time; I know it has taken me quite a while to see it.  But light has become something that I am often looking for when photographing.  There are many different pieces which make up the whole of photography, light is a big piece.  Certain light can give you more detail, emotion, cast shadows and give depth.   But it can also ruin a photo.  When I'm shooting dogs, there are many factors that come into a shot.  Light is sometimes an overwhelming part.  Take a great photo of a dog and add great lighting, perfection.

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