Into the light

05th August 2013
Photography is as everybody knows, all about the light. I am old enough to remember using film, and the instructions on the box advised putting the sun behind the photographer, usually over your shoulder, shining on the subject in front of you. This worked well for the film makers as it was the easiest way to take photos , and still is, if you are using an automatic camera. But in terms of being creative, the sun behind the photographer can be very boring. It is of course more difficult to shoot into the light, but with a little care can produce really exciting results. I went out this evening in the low evening light and found this thistle, being lit by the sun almost directly behind it. There are two issues the photographer has to do in this situation, the first is to figure out the correct exposure because the camera will be fooled completely by this situation. But a good start would be to put your camera in aperture priority underexpose by at least 1.5 stops. The second issue is to avoid the sun coming in the lens or causing flare. I did this by holding a piece of card that threw a shadow across the lens.

I am going to post two pictures one of the thistle lit from behind with the seed pods lit up against a dark background. After I took that picture I thought to do this blog so went around the other side of the same thistle and photographed it with the sun behind me. They are both pictures of a thistle, but I hope you agree the "shooting into the light" version is much more exciting.

Light behind the thistle.

Light behind the photographer.

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