Lighting is what gives a photograph a personality. As a photographer one should say do I want this photo to be apparent or mysterious, vivid or bland, happy or depressed. These moods can be achieved by knowing how to use the four kinds of lighting.
- Diffused lighting – Lighting is spread evenly throughout the photo. Diffused lighting minimizes shadows in photos and ,some times, can eliminate all shadows in photos. Diffused lighting can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles in photos, so many portraits of older subjects use diffused lighting to their advantage. Diffused lighting can be created naturally when the sky is overcast. Since the sunlight is having to travel through a layer of clouds, the light is spread out. Diffused lighting creates a mysterious or bland scene; however, it all depends on the subject. As seen in the photo below there are no apparent shadows and the lighting is mostly even throughout the photo due to an overcast sky.
- Back lighting – Caused when the light source is located behind the subject. Excellent for creating a sense of drama and for creating silhouettes. Back lighting is simple to achieve, especially around sunrise and sunset. When the sun is at a low position in the sky it is easier to place a subject in between the sun and camera creating back lighting. As seen in the photo below some storm clouds are back lit by the setting sun creating a silhouette of the clouds.
- Front lighting – Caused when the light source is in front of the subject. Unfortunately, front lighting places shadows behind the subject and can cause these photos to appear “flat”. The flat feeling is a result of the loss of shadows and makes these photos seem more two dimensional. The photo below is an example of front lighting. Now, while this photo is not exceptionally flat, due to the motion of the water, it is still front lighting.
- Side lighting – Caused when the source of lighting is located at one side of a subject. As a result of the source of light coming from one side of the subject, usually one half of the subject will be well lit, while the other half is covered in a shadow. The subjects curves and edges are noticeable allowing for the differentiation of elevation on the subject. Side lighting can cause a three dimensional effect to appear in a photo. Side lighting is also exceptionally good for dramatic photos. As seen below the subject is side lit allowing for parts of the rock formation to be well lit, while other areas are blanketed by shadows.
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Although it has existed as its own genre for many years, abstract photography is still one of the most difficult art forms to define. So, what really is abstract photography? Since it has no true definition abstract photography can be defined by the following characteristics:
- Does not represent the subject in a literal way.
- Communicates primarily through lighting ,form, color, and curves rather than image detail.
- Many are close-ups or Macro-photos of larger subjects.
I will next display and describe some of my own abstract photos.
Notice the photo is very linear and features the contrast of dark colors on lighter colors. The photo also uses lighting to its advantage. The unusual patterns and textures bend light around its grooves and angles.
This photo was taken at the bottom of a staircase at the California Institute of Technology campus. Now that we know what it is one may be disappointed if their interpretation was incorrect, but that is the beauty of abstract photography. Ones own interpretation of a piece of abstract photography is always correct, because the next person will likely interpret the photo in a very different way than you.
This is a Macro-photo of an agave leaf. The agave plant was located at the Mission Santa Barbra, California.This photo uses light to communicate. With different lengths and colors of light, the origin appears to be the center.
This is a photo of a tree with Christmas lights in the city of Solvang, California. Or if you were just up to some illegal activities this is reality. Remember, don’t do drugs kids. More on this photo and similar ones in a separate post.
One must remember that while these photos may seem complex, all it really takes is a little observation, creativity, and a camera.
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Laws: Copyrighting is a form of protection provided by the law/government to the author of “original works of authorship.” There are several laws protecting original works including the Copyright Law of the United States. This law applies to all images, from the time it is created an image is automatically protected by copyright in the United States. Even though the law is clear that the moment one captures an image they are the legal owners of said image, there will always be uninformed people about the law.
Now we must set limits onto how one should react to copyright infringement. For example, if a fifth grade student uses an image in a report without mentioning who created the image I am not going to hunt him down for a lawsuit. This is still technically copyright infringement; however, in this case the so-called “criminal” is not using the image to earn an illegal profit. If a person commits copyright infringement and is making a profit then the artist has every right to file a lawsuit against the criminal; however, one should remember jumping into a lawsuit is a worst-case scenario.
Watermarking: Watermarking photos is an easy way to deter potential copyright infringement and to let potential “thieves” know you mean business. To place a watermark on a photo one must own a photo-editing software. If you do not own a photo-editing software I strongly recommend purchasing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. Anyway I know that Adobe Photoshop has a watermark option in lightroom 3 and 4 and I do not know how to watermark with any other software. To watermark with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 or 4 one must begin the exporting process. As always with exporting, the photos you want watermarked must be selected before hand. Once export has been clicked scroll down until you see a section titled watermarking. Once you see the watermarking option click it and a symbol will appear notifying you that the water mark has been selected. After this click export, which should be on the lower right hand side and check the photos in the file you have sent them to. The photos should now be watermarked with your name, this is because when you purchase photoshop it asks for your name and this is used as a watermarking preset. If you wish to edit your water mark go to the upper left hand side option in photoshop labeled edit and select edit watermarks. Once there you can change the text of your watermark, location, opacity, size, and style. After your watermark is to your liking be sure to click the save button and give your new preset a name.
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Action shots can be some of the most difficult and amazing photos a photographer will take in their career. Action photography can be done in many ways; however, today we will discuss action photography on the border of stopping motion and blurring motion.
An action photo on the border of stopping motion and blurring motion may sound confusing. One may ask, ” Well am I stopping motion or not?” The answer, in this case, is motion is slowed to the point that only certain parts of the photo appear to have slowed motion while the rest of the photo is frozen in time.
In the photo above the swimmer is clearly frozen in time and free of blur; while, the water in the air is partially slowed and not 100% free of blur. This effect was achieved at a shutter speed of 1/500s and an aperture of f/16. While scenarios in real life will almost certainly be different when attempting to achieve this effect, in terms of lighting and other environmental factors, the key component to slowing motion is shutter speed. The shutter speed one should aim for to capture this effect is between 1/400s and 1/600s.
As stated before action photography is not simple and will come with practice. Both time and effort must be given in order to capture great action shots; however, most will find action photography to be very rewarding and worth the effort.
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The Best times to take photos
Generally there are two best times to take photos. In the early morning and the late afternoon. There is reasoning behind these two times.During both times brilliant colors in the sky add to all photos. The photo taken below was at Quail Creek State Park in Utah. It was taken around six in the morning.
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