Thursday, July 8, 2010

Light Photography

Photography comes from the Greek φῶς (photos) "light" and γραφή (graphé) “drawing,” together they mean “drawing with light.” So what better project could there be than photographing light. This was an early assignment during my photography classes at Antonelli Institute. Since that time I have, at different times, been inspired to use light in unique ways or just to photograph the light and shadows light creates.

In everyday life you see light everywhere. The light streaming in from a window onto a couch or light streaming in through blinds onto a wall will make you run for your camera anytime.

Then there are those times when you create the photo. The photo below was created for rhythm and repetition but also shows light and shadow quite well.

Go outside your door and you can find a million examples of light to inspire you to pick up a camera. I was visiting my mother in Florida and I could not resist the palm tree, since we don’t have these up here in Jersey. One shows the light and shadow on top of the palm frond, which creates a harsher light and shadow, and the other is photographing the light coming through the palm frond creating softer light.

Another way to photograph with light is to use the light in the subject. Back in the day when you used film I did a series of photographs of store front windows at night. I shot with 1600 ISO film, with 50mm lens and shot at 1/60 of a second. Then shot the lighted subjects. An example of this is below; it was taken on South Street one night after full dark. Not only did the photo capture the lit lamp but also picked up neon lighting from across the street.

Creating a portrait of a child is always something amazing. Tricking the camera and the viewer is also fun. Using light coming in from a large sliding glass door (the best light I have ever used) I took the photo below. The photo was created by laying my niece down in front of the door on a green carpet and not going with the recommended exposure time. Leaving the lens open longer than recommended changed the color of the background to make it black.

In the end, just have fun with the camera and try out different settings and places. In this day of digital it is a lot easier to try new things and just play. You no longer have to buy the film or pay for the processing. But as I was taught don’t erase anything from your camera until you have seen it enlarged! You never know what you might have until you see it bigger.
Go out and shoot some light and don’t forget to have fun with it.