When I went to one of my favorite places recently, my aim was to use some long exposures photographing a stream running through a gorge. The place that I went is Padley gorge in the Peak district. You can get magical lighting there when the sun shines. As there a lot of trees down in the gorge you get some wonderful dappled light effects.
Because the day I chose to go was heavily overcast and the trees were blocking much of the light, it allowed longer exposures, the exposures were about 5 seconds. The camera was set on 100 ISO at f22. If the light is too bright for long exposures use neutral density filter to cut out some of the light. On exposures of this length you will need to use a tripod, here a light travel tripod was used with a rock in bag hanging from it for added stability.
The effect that you get on the water is where the water is running fast it goes almost milky. On the slower running water the effect is that it looks like a sheet of glass. This type of photography is well worth giving a try and experimenting with.
I just want to tell you what I thought was a slightly ridiculous conversation that I had about this image with dappled sunlight. It was a beautiful day and I was out walking in the hills and stopped by a waterfall. There was a couple in their mid 70’s sat by the waterfall, there was also a class of school children doing geological studies there. The kids were having fun as they do when near water. I fell into conversation with the couple, the conversation got onto how these kids probably only get out into the countryside when on school trips. They probably spend most of their time sat on their PlayStation’s at home.
The couple both had good cameras and liked to photograph when out walking. I mentioned to the couple about a day that I had in the Derbyshire Peak District recently, the light was beautiful and had come across some strange trees, the dappled sunlight was coming through the trees. The light was amazing and the scene just stunning. The gentleman the said to me that he would create that effect in photoshop. I was little taken aback, surely all you are doing is the same as the kids on their PlayStation’s. Part of what we do as artists or photographers is getting out there and seeing and feeling passionate about the images that we produce. Always remember that photoshop is not a substitute for feeling passionate about our wonderful world.
Contre-jour lighting essentially means shooting into the light. This can vary from extremes of very bright light with silhouettes to more control of the light from the sun whilst keeping some detail in the shadow areas.
Shooting into the light is a favourite form of lighting for me. I love it when there are shadows created as they give so much feeling of depth to an image. To me there should some detail in the shadow areas but it is all down to personal choice. When shooting with the sun in the image I would advise the use of the live view on your camera, never look directly into the sun. You can damage your eyes.
When shooting into the sun my personal preference is to use a very small aperture, it tends to give a better starburst effect rather than an overall blast of light. With the image that I have put up here, you can see the low sun bursting through the leaves but all the deatil is there in the shadow areas. The shadows of the trees in the foreground give depth to the image.
After learning how to use apertures, shutter speeds etc. the next thing any photographer should learn is about light. How to use it and how it affects your images. The correct use of light gives interest to your images as well as depth. The use of shadows can add great atmosphere to an image. On the image that I have added here I have used subtle tones in the shallow estuary water of the River Conwy in Wales. The shot was taken from high upon a hill so you clearly see the different tones where the sand shows through and ripples on the water. The cliffs add a frame to the esturay.
I was walking along a path in a very misty wood with very little light and desperately searching for some inspiration. The wood was at Haughmond hill in Shropshire. It is a popular venue for families, dog walkers and people just out for a bit of fresh air. As I walked along the path the sun appeared through the trees above the mist. As it was later afternoon it gave a lovely golden light which softened spread with the mist. It’s moments like this which we dream of as photographers to give beautiful light and create something magical.
This is a shot I took early one morning. I was working on some wedding photographs and went outside to sit with a coffee. The sunlight was lovely and rising through the tree branches so I grabbed my camera and took a few shots bracketing the exposure. I didn’t want the trunk burning out completely but wanted to capture the lovely golden rays of sunlight.