In Search Of: Good Light

I took this image around 8am on Oct 16, 2014 when I was already late for work.   I was waiting impatiently for  the coffee to brew and I looked out the kitchen windows and saw this sunlight dancing across the field.  So I grabbed my Fuji rangefinder camera and made myself 5 minutes later for work, but it was so worth it.  

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Photography really is all about the light. The right light can turn boring into magical, and the wrong light will leave that perfect moment better as just a memory.  What do you look for in light?  Here's some of the things I keep in mind...  

Time of Day

A nice sunny day is often our worst friend when it comes to great pictures.  Bright sunlight can create harsh shadows, and if you are photographing people, you will get a lot of squinty eyes! A good rule of thumb that I use is to shoot during the first hour after Sunrise, or the last hour before Sundown.  I use an app on my iOS devices that can tell me for any location and date exactly when Sunrise and Sunset will be.

Sunriset HD app on iOS (hint: use Sunrise and Sunset, not Begin twilight and End twilight).

Cloudy Days

Those days that look grey to us are actually great days to get out with the camera.  Clouds naturally diffuse the sunlight, creating much softer light, especially if you are photographing people.  

Open Shade

Open Shade is a concept that I'm just learning more about.   I'm probably not giving it any justice, but the idea that stood out as I skimmed the article linked above  is that a shaded area just next to bright sunshine gives you great lighting.  I look forward to researching this more, and hearing your thoughts on open shade.

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