Shooting into the Light

...continued from It's a Vision Thing

In the previous post, 'It's a Vision Thing' I mentioned a couple of techniques useful in creating dynamic images or pictures including shooting into the light

This is a simple technique that seems to be under-used in the digital age due in no small part to the ability of digital cameras to compensate for just about every 'mistake'

Shooting into the light enables the photographer to simplify and to some extent control what is being seen. This is especially useful with color photography as it allows control of the number of colors in the picture

Example 1


The picture is called The World in Motion

I wanted to produce a picture that gave the viewer a sense of the wind in the sails, the light on the water, the movement of the sailing boats, and a general feeling of sailing on such a glorious day

It was important to cut out anything that appears as static, such as the background as this distracted from the central focal point which is the boats and the sea. To do this, the picture was shot into the light, throwing the background into deep shadow

The picture was shot using a 500mm telephoto lens in high summer, in the middle of the day, with the sun high in the sky and directly in front of the camera. The 500mm lens cuts out the flare from the sun, to capture the sense of movement, a shutter speed of 15 seconds or less was achieved using multiple ND filters


Example 2

This picture is called Sail on a Silver Sea

Technically this picture is simpler than the previous picture as a slow shutter speed wasn't needed, apart from that the same 500mm lens was used with the sun slightly lower in the sky, just right of center 

The exposure was reduced slightly with this picture to allow the boat to become silhouetted. The different overall color between the two examples is simply due to atmospheric conditions on the day

To go back to the original example image below, instead of cutting out the sun using a long focal length lens I am using the building on the right, this allows for the use of a wide angle lens. So enabling the use of two techniques first mentioned in the previous post namely:

  • Shoot against the light, that is with the main light source behind your subject
  • Shoot from a very low angle using the widest angle lens you have
  • Keep your exposure under control to leave the shadows dark


If anyone would like to have a go using the techniques mentioned in this series of posts please do, let me know how you get on by posting a link in the post a comment box






The Cycling Box Hill Collection

The Waterscapes Collection

The Landscape Collection

david t
david t


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