Weekly theme 22nd October 2018 - Seeing the light

(Helen Hooker) #1

Weekly theme 22nd October 2018 - Seeing the light

Hello everyone - I hope you’re having a great start to the week!

I’ve been working on the weekly theme a little more logically this week, trying to plan ahead a little more. I figured it might be an idea to try and create some sort of pattern from the themes I set. My plan is to aim for two subject related themes each month, along with a technique related one and a more conceptual one.

What do you think? This way we’ll get a good mix of themes to work on and it should something of interest for everyone. Looking through the suggestions you’ve given me over the months, some are more specific than others. Do you prefer very specific subjects and concepts, or are more general ones better? Let me know your thoughts on this and I can tailor things to suit the majority.

So, let’s get the ball rolling with the new week’s theme…

This week’s theme is Seeing the light

I thought we’d go for a more technique related theme this week. The aim of this one is to get you all thinking about the way your picture is lit, rather than just finding a subject to shoot.

When I started to get into photography my main consideration was what I was going to aim my camera at - the subject of my photo. How the light was illuminated my subject was of secondary importance - it simply didn’t cross my mind. Somewhere along the line I realised that one of the most ingredients in any photo is the light. After all, the word photography literally means painting with light! I now find myself seeing the way light falls on a place or an object, often before I’ve even thought about what the subject of my photo is.

My challenge to you this week, is to think about light much more. Perhaps keep your eyes peeled for some beautiful light, and make a photo of that. Alternatively, you could have a subject in mind but make sure you light it in such a way (that could be using natural light, flashes or even a torch) that the light source sculpts it beautifully.

Let me share some examples with you for inspiration….

Portraits are a perennial subject for photographers. If we’re taking holiday snaps of our family we often have to make do with whatever light is available, more often than not the sun. However, you can be more deliberate in how you light the subject of your portrait.

Here Matthew Reyes has placed his model near a light source (a window I suspect) so that the soft light gently sculpts one side of the face, allowing the other side to fall into shadow. This makes for a much more dramatic result than if he’d asked the model to face the window.

Sometimes I’ll look for shafts of light when I’m out and about which create interesting effects. This is a picture I took in London recently. It was late in the afternoon and the low sun was cutting between the tall buildings, lighting selected areas of the architecture. In this particular picture I liked the way it was catching the buildings in the distance and made this the feature of my composition.

If you decide to go out and shoot something fresh for the theme (something I’d like to encourage as it gets us all out shooting!) don’t overlook the settings you can tweak on your camera to control the light. One of the most powerful tools is exposure compensation. Your camera will naturally try to expose everything to the level of 18% grey if left to its own devices. This works well for many scenes, but if you’re shooting something very bright or dark the exposure the camera chooses will often be wrong. To stop this you can use exposure compensation to adjust the brightness of your image up or down. If you’re not sure how to do this, a good place to start is your camera’s user manual. I realise these can be pretty dry though, so here’s a handy video by Matt Granger which explains the concept really well: https://youtu.be/80zd9Xol3SQ

The next image is one I shot using negative exposure compensation. The sun was catching the leaves on the tree but I didn’t want them to look overexposed. By reducing the exposure I brought the brightness of the leaves down, throwing the background (which was fairly bland in any case) into shadow and emphasising the shadow patterns on the ground into the bargain. This makes for a much more dramatic shot than if I’d let the camera decide on the exposure for me.

So there are some ideas for you. Now it’s up to you to go out and see the light! Be as creative as you like - I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

How to participate:

  • Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 28th October
  • To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
  • Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
  • To vote, click the :heart: heart icon.
  • If you post your picture early in the week don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!

Winners of the last theme

Last week’s landscapes theme was very popular and we had an amazing variety of images. We have three winners - congratulations to everyone!




(Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue) #2

Castle Landsee (Austria/Burgenland)

(Berckmans Peter) #3

A portrait from my litle girl, using only natural or available light.

(Kenny H) #4

(Mafalda Luisi) #5

Took this picture on my first autumnal walk in the forest. Natural light

(Abigail Gossage) #6

Afternnon light at the National Gallery of Canada

(Lisa Britton) #7

(Helen Hooker) #8

My offering is another picture from my stroll around the City of London. I love the way the light catches some of the buildings, but throws others into shade.

(Bethany Plonski) #9

(Jeco Cossord) #10

The illusionist of light

(Laurence D) #11


(D Vgz) #12

more like playing with light rather than seeing it to be fair… :wink:

(Arleta) #13