Brenda’s A Photo Study: Light

Brenda, in her A Photo Study: Light article, said, “Today’s blog which is being guided by H Zehr’s, discussion of light (The Little Book of Contemplative Photography) has suggested to me that an effective study guide of photography should introduce the topic of light as part of compositional and technical topics.” And she then gave us several quotes from Zehr., including the following.

To photograph is to draw with light. To photograph is to receive and hold light; a photograph is ‘frozen light.’ Light is the essence of photography. Without light, there is no photograph.
–Zehr

Although from time to time, I was attracted by what light had presented to me, a lot of times when I took photos, I wasn’t thinking of light. Thanks to Brenda that from now on, I will definitely pay more attention to light.

I read Brenda’s post several times… maybe more for the purpose of looking at each of Brenda’s photos. I am amazed at all her egg photos. And I enjoy watching both videos (using egg to learn how to see light is one of them) she shared with us.

At first, I was going to photograph eggs (what else?) But it seemed to me that Brenda had already done a “complete” set of egg photos; what more to shoot? My second thought was: it would be a great learning experience if I could duplicate each of Brenda’s photos, because by doing so, I would understand light better. But would that be fun enough for me? I wasn’t sure. At the end, I decided to go with something else. A very simple object, that is. And I found one – a sake bottle.

In this exercise, Brenda asked us to “Use one or more light sources; e.g., diffused light from a window that has some sheer material or bounce light off a wall or a white poster board. A directed or ‘spot’ source can be created with a flood or spotlight in a clamp or a desk light.” Among the following photos, some were taken with diffused light, one bounce light, and some spot source. I wonder how easy it is to tell the difference (from looking at the object, not from background).



It just happened that PictureCorrect recently has published an article Photo Lighting: Things You Should Know. And in that article, I found answers to a couple of my questions 😉 But that’s only a part of the reason I mention it.

William Beem (the author of the article) said, “Some photographers get hung up on the difference between natural light and artificial light. The problem is that there’s no such thing as artificial light. It’s all electromagnetic radiation.” And he concluded that “Light is light.” I found this very interesting. It’s something I want to think more for sure.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
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16 Responses to Brenda’s A Photo Study: Light

  1. Wow! This will take some studying on my part, I’m not a studying kind of photographer so theory is all new to me, including all about light. I had a quick look at Brenda’s post (and I promise to study it in detail later and watch all the videos too, seems very interesting!) but even before that I had a look at your photos and they are pretty amazing! Your sake vase (I mean bottle) takes on a few different lives in your photos. It’s incredible what you can do with light! I like the most the second one and the last three. I’m tempted to do test shots too now. One day… after I study some more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Manja. I am not sure I am one of those theory kind people either. I like trying things, and theory, sort of, gives me a direction to play. I mean it narrows down what to try and that makes my life easier 😉
      I like the way you take photos. Some of your article give me the “documentary” feeling and I love that a lot. Several times I wanted to comment on your posts, but I seemed always in a hurry recently. I kept thinking I would go back and comment later and then you have a new post and I am still in a hurry… Sorry. I hope one of these days I can manage my time more efficiently!
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen, your work is growing and growing, well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Sally. There are so much to learn. Even though learning makes me happy, I, sometime, wish I could “complete” the learning part and just produce. 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  3. loisajay says:

    You are such a great student, Helen. I’m the slacker in the back of the room, watching the clock… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lois. You have commented a lot more than I have, do you know? A lot of time I wanted to comment but I also want to do something else at that same time, and most of the time, something else won. So, in my mind, you are a greater student than me!!!
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mabel Kwong says:

    Ah, photography and light. Such an interesting subject. I also think of light when handling my camera, and definitely prefer it when there is more light if I’m doing street photogprahy or taking some photos at a concert lol. So interesting to hear light is light and they are all the same. I guess so because all of us are made up of atoms and energy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Mabel. Come to think of it, that’s why your photos are so attractive to me — light is it! I have wondered about this… composition? sharp focus? Now I know 😉
      Many photographer said that they preferred shooting with natural light, so I always assume shooting with natural light is much better. It was interesting to read a different point of view. 😉
      Have a great day.

      Like

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        I think you may have just inspired me to look at my photography in another way, Helen. I really do like light a lot in my photos. I don’t mind shooting in artificial lighting, say at a concert as that kind of photography is more challenging for me 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. carol1945 says:

    I especially liked the fourth photo of the sake bottle with the x of the chair underneath. I will read the article on light, but I am usually too busy trying to figure out the buttons on the DSLR than to think about light as well. I noticed the iPhone camera, as good as it is, really is not good in low light, and that is why I want to learn the more advanced camera. I know the computer will lighten and darken photos so you really almost cannot tell. Somehow that feels like cheating. I need to study this topic in more depth. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront of my consciousness!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Carol, I, too, discovered that iPhone camera couldn’t do all I want to do. I am not sure if that is because I don’t know enough about iPhone camera or not.
      Figuring out all camera buttons is an important step for me. It was after I finally did that, I became more aware of what I was doing. And that happened only a year ago. Ha.
      I, too, considered using computer to edit photos was cheating in the beginning. In fact, I was pretty upset when I found out some beautiful photos I saw were not directly coming from cameras. But now I am ok with it, for the art sake.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  6. brenda says:

    Interesting experiment with light, sake bottle, and background. I liked seeing how the various background patterns/texture changed with different light types and directions as well as how the interaction of light on the bottle corresponded with the background. Thank you for this visual learning experience and for joining me on this learning project.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Brenda. I counted… this is my 19th A Photo Study post. For some reason, I thought I had done more. Apparently I am not as a good student as Lois said I am. Ha. You are a wonderful teacher! You don’t know how many times I was amazed at what you wrote. Thank you for allowing us to follow you!

      Like

  7. What a great post … so inspirational. I popped on over to Brenda’s blog – I’m with you on those eggs! Mind you, that sake bottle has probably never looked so good either btw! 🙂👏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Julie. Looks like winter is going to stay for a while. I have a feeling that sooner or later every object in the house will be photographed at least once 😉
      Your father-in-law is soooo nice! Interesting garlic story between you two. Ha.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

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