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Good light

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Solo, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. Solo

    Solo Well-Known Member

    How would you best describe good light? I know that it is best to take photographs early in the morning or later in the day, but recently read a comment from a photographer who stated that there was perfect light all day!


    As a wedding photographer I yearn for the white skies in summer. Really sunny is too harsh, and rainy is a problem. The colours are rendered beautifully on a "White Light" day, no shadows and perfect skin tones. This sort of light however is no good for landscapes where a bit more drama is called for in the sky (Stormy, Morning, Evening). It all depends on what you are photographing.
  3. phil

    phil Well-Known Member

    Up until the clocks changed any light at all would be good. Bear in mind the time of year. During a clear December or Jan day the angle of the sun is low (especialy if you travel north) and so will give the impression of an early morning/ evening for most of the day!!! Whereas in June/July you'll have to be able to say ' mornin' to the milk man to get the same angle!

    Phil <img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif">
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    As others have said, it depends on your subject. For even, low-contrast light overcast weather is best. This suits weddings and technical macro shots, and most types of outdoor record photography.
    To enhance contrast and texture (or "modelling"), directional light is best - which is generally morning or evening. The colour of the light is also much warmer then, which is why this sort of light is prized by many landscape photographers. However, when shooting true panoramics, it can be impossible to expose correctly for extremes of the frame, which is why many panoramic pictures are taken closer to the middle of the day.
    And of course storms and bad weather can produce wonderful light. The best advice I can give is to get out there and watch the light and take pictures. It doesn't take long to appreciate what good light is all about.

  5. beki

    beki Active Member

    Thanks for asking the question. I think it's always helpful to revisit the question of good light. Reading the answers here has provided me with reminders and new information already.

    So, I wanted to add some light experiences of my own. Since I am a "weekend" photographer, and since it always competes with other goals, I find myself taking pictures when I can, which means I have to manage the light I have. Ideally I would like to take lanscapes and so forth in the early morning and late in the evening and then in the day get under the canopy and do some macro work... evenings I would do some still life with some daylight adjusted bulbs and shades. To take the edge of harsh light, especially in macro work, I've found that a white umbrella works really well (although there is a certain daftness factor associated with being crouched under a tripod on the ground in sunshine holding an umbrella over a small plant)... it could also work as an umbrella of course!

    So, when I am out in the middle of the day doing landscapes I try and polarise and use a warm up filter (on a warm film) to bring a bit more warm light into the scene as well as trying to get the most saturated colours I can. I don't know whether that's good practice or not, but it seems to produce pictures I'm pretty happy with!!!

    Oh, by far the best light experience I had ever was in Denmark, Copenhagen where in autumn I was out in the evening, and the sun was low and giving off that warm light for hours because of the long sunsets. It was beautiful!

  6. Joël Lacey

    Joël Lacey Member

    Re: Good light..any light

    Over the last decade or so, it has been a rule of law that every time I had to go out and take pictures for an AP camera or film test, the skies would blacken, then open. I've not checked with the Met office, but I'm pretty sure you can correlate the launch of any top end AF SLR with increased rainfall in the Southwark area of London. Since I moved away from London (and thus can take pictures any time of any day) we've had the heaviest rainfall since records began.
    I went to Death Valley, while on holiday in California, and it was closed… due to floods. In Corfu they've had rain in mid-June just once this Century (guess where I was), In Crete thay had a bad spell of weather two years ago (guess where I was). In the last four years while on trips to Las Vegas (Snow!!!) Tokyo (typhoons) and New Orleans (Floods, hurricanes) I have been lucky to get any light. I've given up shooting weddings for friends and family (floods and constant rain).
    Any light is good light. Anything else is a bonus.
  7. woody

    woody Active Member

    Re: Good light..any light

    It sounds to me like you are a Rain God! Those clouds just can't bear to be away from you. (Douglas Adams - So Long and Thanks for All the Fish)

  8. beki

    beki Active Member

    Re: Good light..any light

    Ouch! That's a lot of rain.

    I'm pretty lucky with light. As long as Joel's not here it's sunny. My biggest challenges are too much, haze (eh hem... smog), and fog. It was so sunny in the city I treked to the Golden Gate for a sunset photo to find that all I could see was the concrete posts on which the bridge rests. Fog...

  9. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Re: Good light..any light

    Strange phenominom that, but not unique to Joel. Every time I throw my leg over the motorbike, despite the fact that up until that moment the sun was shining, the combination of BigWill and motorbike immediately triggers a tropical downpour of biblical proportions to immediately descend upon me! Somebody up there doesn't like me!
    Big(soaked to the skin)Will


    Re: Good light..any light

    You had better try and get a Nikonis to test, things might change!
  11. decayer

    decayer Well-Known Member

    Re: Good light..any light

    Do you mind coming to India? We've had a really bad dry spell here.


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