In manual mode take a sequence of shots of a subject of your choosing at different
times on a single day. It doesn’t matter if the day is overcast or clear but you need
a good spread of times from early morning to dusk. You might decide to fix your
viewpoint or you might prefer to ‘work into’ your subject, but the important thing is
to observe the light, not just photograph it. Add the sequence to your learning log
together with a timestamp from the time/date info in the metadata. In your own
words, briefly describe the quality of light in each image.
Although not the most interesting of scenes, I chose to make images of a single location at 30 minute intervals during a single day. I used a fixed focus wide angle lens and mounted the camera on a tripod to retain the same view point through the shooting cycle. My first images were made at 7.30am and the final image was made at 19.30.
From these I selected a range of images taken about 1 hour apart. They record the changing light through what was quite a bright late summers day. The camera was set in manual mode and I adjusted the exposure to maintain a well exposed image. From these I selected a number of images that were about an hour apart and that shod the changing light an shades through the day.
8:00, 9:00 and 10:00am
In this first sequences the sun remains low, slowly rising and casting long shadows. There is also evidence of what is sometimes called ‘golden hour’ light. It is a light that can be very orange and long in wavelength. This caused by the low sun having to starve through a thicker layer of atmosphere with has the effect of filtering some of the bluer shorter wavelengths, the effect is relatively short lived and by the end of this first sequence there is a bright more even set of colours. The green of the lawn, bushes and trees is quite intense in this first sequence and the grass almost glows. The images are very contrasty and there is quite a range of hues within the colours in the shots.
11:00,12:00 and 1:00pm
In the second sequence the first image was taken with the sky somewhat overcast. This has the effect of subduing the shadows and to some extent ‘dulling’ the colours, there is no longer the vibrancy of the bright some light. There is however an evenness about the light in the scene and as all the harsh shadows have gone I can see why architectural photographers prefer this sort of even light to capture the detail in buildings. Also the sun is higher in the sky and when shadows appear in the next two images they are shorter and less harsh.
2:00, 3:00 and 4:00pm
The progress of the sun is much more evident in the next set of images. By the 4pm image and the direction of the shadows is quite different to this initial shots. there is still a brightness and glow caused by the direct sunlight unhindered by clouds. By the 4pm image here is a hint of the golden hue seen in the morning images, again caused by some of the blue light being filtered by the atmosphere.
5:00, 6:00 and 7:00pm
In the 5pm image the golden hue is even stronger and the long and distinct shadows attest to the setting sun. However by the final two images the sky has become overcast, shadows are far less obvious, although still evident and there is a very even but uninteresting light.
This was an interesting exercise that demonstrated the range of factors that influence the quality of the light in an image. These include the:
- time of the day
- height of the sun
- weather conditions
- the subject matter and how it reflects or absorbs light