Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chasing The Light Only To Find It In the Shadows

Light breaking through at beach
The beach at sunrise. This shot is metered for the branches in the archway and, thanks to the dark foreground, you can see the sunrise ahead.
Compare it to the shot below.

It’s been warm and sunny here the last few weeks. It’s not yet supposed to be.

It was our first winter in this town, our first winter in this house. We hadn’t realized that the cold would bite through the older windows the way it did. Our heating and electric bill came and I almost fell over. How could it be so high when we weren’t actually warm? New windows got added to our house’s Fix It list.

Ironically, our former neighbors moved to this neck of the woods just before we did. At their Super Bowl party, we did the fun things that us so called grown-up people do – we compared electric bills. Theirs packed a wallop too. “We don’t understand it,” she told us. “We keep the heat on 65.” Why does it cost so much to be cold?

I was reading a photography tutorial about shooting even when light conditions aren’t ideal. It talked about finding the light among the shadows. It said that placing your subject so that the light is directly on them produces flat, even light whereas placing them so that they’re angled toward the light gives dimension and depth.

When your subject is in direct light, the effect is very one dimensional. When your subject is in directional light, the effect is multi-dimensional. It captures intensity, mood and soul.

Shadows illuminate us in a way direct light can’t.

Shadows don’t just mean grief and hardship and tragedy. Sometimes it means a lack of sleep, time or dollars. Sometimes it means an abundance of these without anyone to share in them.

Had it not been cold, I wouldn’t be so grateful that it’s warm. We don’t need to chase the shadows, unbidden they come. But sometimes we need to stop chasing the sun so hard – it’s causing us to miss the light.

Compare the photo above and below to see the difference the light makes.

The same photo as above, but metered for the foreground with the ISO bumped way up. You can see what’s directly in front of me, but not ahead of me.
The sunrise is blown out because it’s expose to too much light.

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