Photo and post provided by Rick Sammon
Light. Its the main element in every photograph that you have ever taken and will take. I talk about that extensively in my book, Exploring the Light: Making the Very Best In-Camera Exposures.
When it comes to light, we must know how to:
1. See the light the contrast range in the scene, the color of light, the direction of light, and the quality of light.
2. Control the light with a flash, reflector or diffuser, or by changing the subjects position (as in moving a subject into the shade).
3. Play/work with the light in the digital darkroom, where you can adjust levels, curves, color, and so on.
New to seeing the light? Know this: Our eyes have a dynamic range of about 11 f-stops, which is why, for example when we are outdoors viewing a landscape, white clouds don’t look overexposed and washed out, even when part of the scene is in deep shade shade into which we can often see.
Digital cameras have a dynamic range of five or six f-stops. Sure, we can pull out more date from an image in the digital darkroom, but there is a trade off: increased noise in the image. Thats why your exposures really should be right on.
All the aforementioned light-controlling accessories flash, reflector, diffuser have something in common: they compress the brightness range of the scene, making it easier to get a good exposure of a subject in a high-contrast situation. I never leave home without them!
Heres an example of how using a diffuser dramatically compressed the brightness range in a scene for a much more flattering picture. Thats me in the top image. I am using a diffuser thats part of a reflector/diffuser kit by FJ Westcott that I developed called, Westcott Rick Sammon Tote Kit. The photographs were taken in Mongolia during one of my workshops.
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