Exercise 4.1 Daylight

The Brief

Taking the photography of Mann, Atget or Schmidt or a photographer of your own choosing as your starting point, shoot a number of photographs exploring the quality of natural light. The exercise should be done in manual mode and the important thing is to observe the light, not just photograph it. In your learning log, and using the descriptions above as your starting point, try to describe the quality of the light in your photographs in own words.

Response

In looking at Sally Manns work on Southern Landscapes I was filled with a sense of eerie familiarity in the way she used light to convey the image. The landscapes gave way to memories of fishing trips with my father and some of the scenes often seen in black and white horror films. Two images in particular were quite striking to me:

The first thing I was drawn to when looking at this image was the small upright trunk centre left of the image, which at first glance reminded me of the scene in “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” where the little girl finds the street lamp in the forest. The scene below is quite mystical with the light seeps through the forest to create this scene.

The second of Manns images that grabbed my attention is this one below, for me the light takes centre stage, where the landscape for me plays a supporting role by shaping its effect on the landscape, the light brings the energy to this image.

We are currently in lockdown, so I have used the walk around a village to take some shots and on this particular day we had hazy sunshine and this image serves as a great example of the way the light permeates the image below. The light is quite harsh, especially when you look to the background and the foliage towards the back of the tree shown in the image below. Look at the background the light fades the detail on the tops of the tree line in the distance, with only the shaded areas at the bottom of the treeline showing any real definition. The tree in the foreground doesn’t escape the saturation of light, when you look at the foliage towards the back of the tree, much of the detail is lost as compared with the more shaded part in the foreground.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 10 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

In this example below, you see the light source is coming from the right of the frame, casting a shadow from the trees and cars on the right. The light is so harsh it mutes the detail in the tops of the trees on the right side and on the top of the building in the distance. The light finds a way to breach the trees on the right to bounce light of the trees seen from the centre to the left of the frame creating depth and shadow in the branches and foliage.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 10 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

The last image I have chosen is this shot of the blossoms from one the trees I passed shooting focused in the blossom in the foreground and on a cloudy day the background would be a little more defined. The harsh light from the sun has pierced the canopy of the tree creating a  sensation of a lot of fairy lights blurred in the background of the shot around the blossoms in the foreground.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 10 April, 2020
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

References

Sally Mann, Southern Landscapes. [online]. https://www.sallymann.com/new-gallery-2/ [Accessed 28th April 2020]

 

 

Continue Reading