The Basics of Lighting

Light is the most important element of photography and it’s worth waiting for the right lighting conditions to get the best results. After all, without light your images would not exist.

Light basics

  1. The best light is usually before 9am or after 3pm as colours become richer and contrast is reduced, enabling your camera to record greater detail in both highlight and shadow. Also, shadows become longer, giving depth to the image.
  2. The best time to use midday light is when highlighting Australia’s turquoise oceans.
  3. For landscape photography and to convey greater dimension, try not to have the sun directly behind you, as shadows are then lost behind the subjects within the frame, leaving you with little idea of form. However, you can successfully use back lighting because it creates strong silhouettes – if that’s what you want to do.
  4. Overcast conditions are best for rainforest photography because the reduced contrast allows you to accurately record the environment. In this misty rainforest scene it’s what I had waited for. However, nothing went to plan. I’m not sure how I got this result and the more I try to explain it, the more my imagination runs wild. Perhaps my lens fogged. Had light fallen onto the film before being processed? Did I double expose the image in haste on the day? That’s not hard to do with a panorama camera! This image has never provoked the same fantasy in me twice and my friends have all had a unique take on it.

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