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Posts Tagged ‘light’

postheadericon Tropical Light – A High Sun

A high sun for much of the day and very rapid sunrises and sunsets make shooting in the tropics a different experience, with short periods of attractive lighting. For most of the year in the tropics, the sun is almost directly overhead in the middle of the day, and its effect on the distribution of light and shade is unfamiliar to many photographers. If you live in the middle latitudes, the Midwest, or Europe – your idea of a high sun is probably around 60 degrees above the horizon. For a few hours a day in the tropics, however, there is no sense of front, back or side to the sunlight. Shadows lie directly underneath objects. Roofs and awnings cast deep shadows, bu under many subjects, such as people or cars, the shadows, bu under many subjects, such as people or cars, the shadows are very small. Anything flat, like most landscapes, appears without any shadows at all.

 

It would be easy to brand this overhead light as unattractive, and by conventional standards it probably is for many subjects. However, it would be too dramatic to dismiss it  as being generally unsuitable. It can play a part in conveying the atmosphere of the tropics. Look for scenes that convey the impression of heat and shade that are distinctive to the tropics 0 for instance, long, downward-pointing shadows on a bleached wall; a face completely shaded by the brim of a hat, and so on. In other words, look for images that say “tropical” though the quality of lighting as much as through the  subject matter.

 

Portraits and landscapes are the two subjects that suffer most under the harsh lighting of the tropical sun. A face directly under the sun will have prominent, deep shadows under the eyebrows, nose, and chin; moreover, the eyes, which carry so much of the expression in the face, will be fairly well hidden by shadows. The lighting problem for landscapes is almost the opposite; a lack of shadow. There is , as a result, less sense of shape and texture to the landscape, and consequently a weaker perspective. To avoid this, you should shoot earlier or later in the day; alternatively, an immediate answer for a portrait is to shoot in open shade, but be careful to set the white balance accordingly.

 

The sun rises and sets more or less vertically, which at least makes it easy to predict its position for aligning subjects with sunrise and sunset. However, rising and setting like this, the sun appears to move quickly and dusk and dawn are short. If your are used to the amount of time that is normally available in a temperate climate for preparing a shot or changing position, you may be caught our when first photograph in a more tropical climate.

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postheadericon Beauty of Mountain Light

Mountains have a special effect on photography; the clearer, thinner air makes lighting starker and brighter, and the weather can change in an instant. The sheer height of mountains helps to create some of their special conditions of light; their relief produces the others, through the frequently rapid changes that occur in localized weather. One of the most memorable weather conditions for photography is the clear, crisp air in sunlight that gives high visibility to long views and fine detail. This, however, is only one of variety of types of lighting found in mountains.

 

The air is thinner at altitude, and is therefore clearer, provided that the weather is fine. Since the air is thinner, there are fewer particles to scatter light into the shadow areas, which consequently can be very deep. Local contrast, as a result, is often very high. The skylight in shade is a more intense blue than at sea-level. This intensity is more than usually difficult to estimate and without correction can be stronger than you expect. The thin air is also a less effective screen against ultraviolet rays, and there is a higher component of these short wavelengths. This produces an unusually large difference between what you can see and what the camera’s sensor will record. Unless you want to make use of the blue cast to emphasize distance, use strong ultraviolet filtration. Remember also that, in reacting to the ultraviolet wavelengths, the sensor receives more exposure, and the distant parts of the scene will look paler than they do to the eye.

 

So much for the thinner atmosphere. The interesting part of mountain light comes from the changeable weather, and this is controlled strongly by the relief of ridges and valleys. In particular, clouds become an ever changing part of the local lighting which you’ll need to keep a constant eye on.

UPDATED! Green Screen Wizard Full Version 7.0 offers the latest in green and BLUE screen software power and control behind an amazingly simple and accessible user interface. This chroma key software provides professional photographers, as well as photography enthusiasts, a simple way to do green screen removal and substitutes their choice of digital background. Green Screen Wizard is a self-contained chroma key removal program that does not require Photoshop or other photo editing application to produce beautiful green screen photos. Learn more now and try a free demo version!

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