Changing The Quality of Light Outdoors

Finding soft light on a hard light day

Photo by Chris Gampat

I’ve talked about changing the qualities of light before in my post Understanding light: Intensity vs. Quality, but mostly in regards to the studio. When shooting outdoors you are subject to the elements. Sometimes you get a cloudy day when you want soft lighting or a bright sunny day when you want strong shadows. Other times you have the opposite of what you want that day – but there are still things you can do.

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Shooting a Reflected Portrait Using Your Surroundings

This image of former Superbike World Champion James Toseland looks simple, but it’s not – a whole bunch of circumstances had to come together for it to work.

The lighting is from the top – it was shot during the middle of the day. Normally this would cause a lack of detail in the subject’s face, but the white walls all around has bounced beautiful soft light into all the right places (seen in the subject’s glasses). The dark, shadowed wall in the background is the perfect contrast to the subject’s face.

The woman talking to Toseland is reflected in his sunglasses: beware, you need to use an aperture small enough to capture the depth of field to both subjects. Using f/8 has given me enough depth for both people but kept the background soft.

Canon EOS 1D MarkIIN, EF 24-105L IS USM @ 97mm, ISO 320, 1/640th @ f/8, Aperture Priority.

Book Review: DIY Photography- Home Studio Photography

Do it yourself projects are usually very fun. I used to work on things like this back in college when I was more into cinematography. DIYPhotography’s Udi Tirosh, the creator of the well reviewed Bokeh Master’s Kit, has written a very informative and carefully explained book: Home Studio Photography. The eBook is a complete listing of a bunch of fun projects to work on at home when you’re bored. Beyond boredom, many of the creations have practical applications in the photo world as well.

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Spacious Thought: Winter Landscapes (as learned from this winter)

Camera Nikon D90 Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160) Aperture f/8.0 Focal Length 44 mm ISO Speed 200

Winter can be brutal. It can also open up great landscape photography opportunities. A lot of snow gives a lot of contrast. Getting to a good location in the winter provides challenges and affects composition. With hard work and some hot coffee, great images can be created. Here are some tips to help you out.

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Photography at Pop Culture Conventions and What I’ve Learned

Exposure 0.02 sec (1/50) Aperture f/5.6 Focal Length 50 mm ISO Speed 400

Photography at pop culture can be fun, interesting, and precarious times. These events not only present the opportunity to make contacts and meet many possible new clientele, but also lead to great opportunities to add some fresh images to your portfolio. Pop culture events are great places to boost experience levels while having a whole lot of fun. I recently shot the New York Comic Con for the first time with a DSLR and I left the convention with some new knowledge from this cultural experience.

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Field Tutorial: The Orbis And Shooting Firestar

At Comic Con, I was given the opportunity to photograph a lot of talented and wonderful people dressed in their cosplay garb. Jessica Caitlin Foley was one of the attendees that stood out the most. She hails from Virginia and dressed as the Marvel superhero Firestar. As per recent reader requests, this is the beginning for a new type of posting here at ThePhoblographer, detailing Field Tutorials and how the equipment is used in the field. My apologies beforehand for the lack of Strobist photos and diagrams but we will be more careful in the future to do those.

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