Natural as Light

There are a dozen or so technical terms for natural lighting but I’m still a suck it and see kind of photographer. One afternoon last summer, at a Cornish bay, I saw the small boat sail across (it reminded me of “Pascali’s Island” but that is another matter and a much more colourful scene). At the time I had the camera setting in monochrome but as I was shooting into the sun it added a certain drama to the scene whilst silvering the sea rather how I imagine nitrate on old film.

Switching to manual mode, from the same viewpoint the colours are leached which I rather like especially as the day was so vibrantly saturated everywhere. Of course by then the boat had gone but I rather like an empty horizon.

This unedifying image of my local recreation ground, shot with iPhone, is made much more interesting because of the low side-lit sun of a summer day, offering up several tones of green and long shadows.

I’m a sucker for the leafy walkways with the sun shining as side light and throwing a myriad shadows and highlights glowing in the spaces. Sometimes of course the glow becomes too much of a white-out and I had to tone the highlights down a bit, post camera. Probably a lens hood would have helped here, but I had not brought it!

In this simple portrait of side-lit beech leaves, the deep shadowed background set off the contours of foliage right down to the tiny holes of insect damage.

Invariably I’m out with camera at the least desirable times of day, especially mid-afternoon but this time in London’s St James’ park, it was still morning and the light had all the glory of an early winter day.

And over by the lake, the waters gave an added reflective glow to the side-lighting.

I'm joining Amy's Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Natural Light. 

27 Comments on “Natural as Light

  1. Now I’m wishing I had included a monochrome image. I’m also wishing I had thought to rework the prompt, I really like the Natural as Light title.

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    • I’m never far from monochrome David as it shows me the light contrasts better than colour for my naive eye – and you can always change your title too!

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      • I must admit that I don’t “see” in monochrome the way I used to when shooting film. I sometimes resort to switching the camera to monochrome so I’m seeing monochrome in the viewfinder.

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          • I spent about 15 years shooting colour and black and white side by side until no publications wanted monochrome images. Then followed nearly two decades of shooting slide film exclusively. That’s one of the advantages of mirrorless cameras with electronic viewfinders. You can switch the camera to monochrome and the electronic viewfinder becomes monochrome.

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  2. Enjoyed having your commentary with all these images, Laura, each interesting in its own way. And of course you will know I am also a sucker of dappled leafy avenues.

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  3. Natural as light, such a beautiful series, Laura. The mono shot is incredible. I also love the empty horizon of the second image. the side-lit beech leaves is my favorite. Thank you for joining in, happy to see your photos again. 🙂

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  4. A beautiful post as always Laura. Of these the simple light on beech leaves is the one that most captures my attention – a vey special image. Clearly you’ve mastered the art of light painting.

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    • thank you, Tina, for such encouragement. The beech leaves are a simple composition and have been idling in my archive for over a year, so I’ve been glad to bring them into the light at last

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  5. I love that black and white leafy walkway. The whole thing done in b&w was perfect. Gave a mysterious sense.

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  6. Hi Laura, I agree with one of your commenters about your thoughts along the way. It adds so much more when you narrate the pictures. The leafy pathway is my type of place, but so is the ocean view. I like it both in color and in monochrome. But my favorite is always backlit people. Surround her with birds and you have the start of a romantic movie. Well done! 🙂

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