One of my favorite quotes is actually the title to a famous country and western song entitled, “I saw the light”, sung by one of the true country legends, Hank Williams. Not that I’m a die hard lover of country music or a religious person, but years ago whenever I was shooting on location, chasing and finding the light, I would sing a couple of verses to sort of celebrate my good fortune and timing.:
I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.
If you’re interested, here’s Hank singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtolv9kM1qk
Btw, my crew thought it was REALLY getting old!!!
The analogy I’m drawing is what I teach in my online class with the PPSOP, or in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. I tell my fellow photographers that light is everything; you find the light and you’ll find the shot. The only exception is in photo-journalism/street photography where capturing the action can be more important.
I’m always looking all around my environment and peripheral vision for that moment when I see the light hitting or falling on something. Light is so fleeting that once you see it, you have to act fast or you’ll lose it. Sometimes the light returns, as in a cloud moving across the sky, but I’ve found after forty-four years of shooting that once it’s gone…baby it’s gone!!! Light will make the difference between going home empty handed, or being less satisfied because of a gray day when you could have slept in.
When you do see it, while running towards it, you should also be thinking about how you’re going to use it. Sometimes there’s a subject or center of interest already in the light, and sometimes I look around for something to move into the light.The faster you can determine that the better your chances are in capturing it.
Are you going to side light, back light, front light? These questions need to be addressed and put in order of importance. In other words, try to light your subject from as many points of view as you can. I always try to start out back lighting or from the light in the ten or two position. Then I’ll look at my subject as it’s side lit. Finally and rarely will I front light anything…why?
Because when you front light, you lose the third dimension, depth. The one exception is when the background behind your subject is dark, making it stand out.
Here’s what I saw when I see the light:
Imagine me singing away when I’m seeing the light!!!
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.
I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.
Come shoot with me and we’ll sing in two part harmony.
Don’t forget to send me a question and photo to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I send you a video critique.