Friday, February 3, 2012

F550EXR – Follow the light …

Just a quick post to remind you to follow the light. If you have a choice, think carefully about the timing of your shooting session in nature. You might want the subject well lit, or you might want a silhouette, or you might want slashing shadows from side lighting. Each will have advantages and disadvantages, depending on the subject.

A couple of quick examples: one shot in the late morning when I left for lunch and then the office, and the other shot when I arrived back home after 6pm.

Shooting the house in the morning meant that my car was still in shadow, and the CR-V was in partial sun. Shadows were still long and the was blasting straight into the lens. The F550 handles everything rather well in my opinion.

The shadows give nice texture to the snow. They are fairly light because the sun is somewhat higher in the sky. so the overall tonal balance looks nice to me.

Now, the evening shot is side lit by a setting sun, so the colors are warmer and I ensured the the image was somewhat darker. I.e. that it more or less matched the tones at that time of night.

I like each image, but I would choose the second one if forced to. The colors and tones are richer and more subtle. The harshness of the sunlight into the lens is not there.

The point, though, is that you have a choice when going out to shoot something specific. You can shoot before sunrise, after sunrise, midday, afternoon, evening, or at dusk. All have their virtues – well, midday sun is probably the exception – and it is your choice as to what you want images to look like.

Case in point: I had a business trip planned to Sharm el Sheikh on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula back in 2008, and I booked a 24 hour stop in Cairo, in a hotel next to the Giza Plateau that faced the Pyramids. I was planning to shoot the pyramids 3 or even 5 times that day. In every kind of light. That was the only plan for that day, as it was to be a once in a lifetime trip.

I lost the trip when a family member became very ill about 3 hours before the flight. I scrambled and had other attendees deliver my talks. All was well 24 hours later, but it was too late to fly. So although I lost my trip, I had thought about the unknown light I would encounter and had planned to get great captures by shooting in every kind of light. Plan ahead.