Chase the Light

by Alan Godfrey April. 26, 2021 65 views

Every so often you see a photographer's work that really inspires you, and makes you want to challenge yourself to emulate their style or approach as part of your own learning journey.

I first saw Alan Schaller's work on the front cover of a Black & White Photography magazine and it immediately grabbed me. Digging deeper into his style, I was drawn to the dramatic use of deep blacks and bright whites to craft something artistic out of the light-scape.

This approach seems to rely on harsh and challenging lighting conditions, which I like as it then provides me with a way of approaching scenes at times that might otherwise not be ideal for other forms of photography.

Early one summer morning, during a brief break in the series of lockdowns in the UK, I headed out with my camera and realised this would be a perfect opportunity to attempt this style.

Chasing the light, June 2020

Chasing the light, June 2020

I specifically went looking for places with a strong mixture of bright sunlight and dark shadows. Around roadways also seemed ideal, as this gave the opportunity to work with bright road markings against the dark tarmac as well!

Into the frame, June 2020

Into the frame, June 2020

These are my two favourite images that I've managed in this style, although this has so far been my one and only attempt - so I certainly hope for more!

Both images taken with a Ricoh GRIII:

  1. 1/1000 sec at f/11.0, ISO 400
  2. 1/1600 sec at f/11.0, ISO 400

What I like about taking images like this, is that when working with the bright sunlight and trying to plunge the blacks into oblivion, you end up using a high shutter speed and deep aperture setting, resulting in little chance of images lacking sharpness.

However, with the Ricoh being fixed to 18mm focal length, composition is very important. The top photo is cropped down to around 30%!

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