Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Does harsh light work sometimes?

  1. #1

    Does harsh light work sometimes?

    It breaks all the rules to shoot outside in the brightest part of the day. But sometimes it seems to work, I think. This was shot yesterday on a very bright sunny day at 14:00. I think it gives an interesting stark finish, although I did boost the colour and contrast quite a bit in CS4. It's a boarded up shop in Barry, South Wales.

    Do you normally avoid the brightest part of the day?


    Does harsh light work sometimes?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bucharest,Romania
    Posts
    1,331

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Hi.
    This old fashion face is the argument.
    Regards
    Radu Dinu

  3. #3
    Terry Tedor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    247

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Rules are meant to be broken. ;-)
    Last edited by Terry Tedor; 17th February 2010 at 01:30 PM. Reason: OK, so I didn't major in spelling. Cut me some slack; it was late and I was tired! ;-)

  4. #4
    bleys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    151

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Tedor View Post
    Rules are ment to be broken. ;-)
    Werd.

    Sometimes breaking the rules is not only optional but absolutely necessary.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,323
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Do you normally avoid the brightest part of the day?
    Sometimes, but in summer, it is easier to shoot 'in the middle' than get up at "silly o'clock" in the morning

    In winter, it's the only time the sun gets 'into' certain places, so it can be essential to aim for the middle of the day, as RonH will no doubt agree

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    Amberglass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    343

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Working on location and at the mercy of your client may often times end up at "not so optimal lighting" situations. So often times you will have to bring light modifiers like diffuser panels, reflectors, strobes (aka flash units of some form), or even behind/under coverage of indirect lighting to manipulation the quality of light to your needs. But the most common method in taking properly exposed images on bright and sunny days is using a method known as the "Sunny 16 Rule".

    For a quick preview: http://blog.epicedits.com/2008/06/18...sunny-16-rule/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule, and http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm.

    Images taken using the "Sunny 16 Rule" under very strong direct sunlight. The second photo used a fill flash off camera but note that the sky is not "blown out":
    Does harsh light work sometimes?
    Does harsh light work sometimes?

  7. #7

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    The second photo used a fill flash off camera but note that the sky is not "blown out":
    Does harsh light work sometimes?
    Yes, good point that about fill flash, especially on people shots or small close objects. Your second shot looks very good, and the bright conditions seem to have provided great depth and contrast.

    If anyone else wants to post harsh light shots, please feel free.

  8. #8
    Amberglass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    343

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    My client liked the different styles of monochromic, but here's the color version if you're having a hard time with contrasts:
    Does harsh light work sometimes?

  9. #9
    eNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Downey, CA
    Posts
    194

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Do you normally avoid the brightest part of the day?
    Generally, no. I've been meaning to write a blog entry on this topic, but here are the cliff notes. Shooting at dusk or dawn or shortly before or thereafter seldom produces images that are representative of the subject. Yes, everything is soft and very romantic, and I like those shots, too, but if I'm shooting a Southern California beach, shooting at dusk or dawn is throwing away 80% of the place's beauty. When do most people go to the beach? At dusk or dawn? Hardly. Want to produce an image that will identify with their experience so that they will actually buy it from you? Shoot at 10am or even noon. Yes, you will have harsh light and will struggle with reflections and glare. Use a polarizer.

    I know I will come off a bit cranky, but I often wonder whether folks that preach the "shoot only in soft light" gospel live in areas where they get very little sun to play with. Note how even Ansel Adams did some of his best work in midday sun. Why? Because he had to start his hike early in the morning, walk for 4-6 hours to get to his subject, then hike back home. Unless he camped at the site (now on top of all his gear he needs to carry a tent, sleeping bag and dinner?), those golden hours weren't always possible. For an example of this, see the story behind one of his most famous images, Monolith. Notice how Adams' visualization for how he wanted the final image to look would not have worked in soft light: during the golden hours the sky would have never been that deep rich blue needed for a dark-to-black B&W conversion.

    See my other thread about "Disney Hall, Los Angeles." When I got there, I was kicking myself for not getting there at 7:30 or 8:00am. Then, during PP I realized I would have never gotten the range of tones, contrast and deep blue skies if I had taken those shots before the time when I finally got there, 10:00am. Here's one of those images as an example. And I didn't even use a polarizer.

    Does harsh light work sometimes?
    Last edited by eNo; 17th February 2010 at 04:24 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by eNo View Post
    Shooting at dusk or dawn or shortly before or thereafter seldom produces images that are representative of the subject. Yes, everything is soft and very romantic, and I like those shots, too, but if I'm shooting a Southern California beach, shooting at dusk or dawn is throwing away 80% of the place's beauty. When do most people go to the beach? At dusk or dawn? Hardly. Want to produce an image that will identify with their experience so that they will actually buy it from you? Shoot at 10am or even noon. Yes, you will have harsh light and will struggle with reflections and glare. Use a polarizer.

    [/IMG]
    Thanks, eNo - you raise some very good points. I agree that a polarizer helps in harsh light as it takes the edge off any glare. And yes it's great for getting blue skies which work great on B+W conversions. I think harsh light can work really well if it's done carefully. It can produce great contrast, which is to me the thing I try to achieve the most.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by bleys View Post

    Sometimes breaking the rules is not only optional but absolutely necessary.
    I always take the approach that "it's OK to break the rules" so long as the result justifies it ... if it DOESN'T justify it then ... one should have followed the rules!

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    in summer, it is easier to shoot 'in the middle' than get up at "silly o'clock" in the morning
    To use a double-negative, "boy you ain't wrong there" ... sometimes as early as 3:30am in these parts (allowing for a drive to remote parts). To be honest, it's the getting up I hate, although once I'm up I generally enjoy the quiet time.

  13. #13
    Terry Tedor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    247

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Thank you all for the insightful commentary on shooting in harsh light. Living in the far north, we get our fair share of nice soft light. Unfortunately, it's mainly in the winter when it's cold, but the upside is it lasts all day. The flip side to this coin is during most of the summer the light can be pretty harsh. Sure we get a few hours on either side of the day were the rays are long, soft and reddish orange, but that occurs late in the evening, roughly 8:00PM until midnight and very early in the morning, from sunrise until 5:00AM or 6:00AM. Mind you, the rays are not anywhere near as direct and harsh as in, say, southern California, Arizona or Florida, but noticably more direct than in the winter. The commentary here has given me encouragement, ideas and inspiration on some shots for the summer months. Thanks again.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Burton on Trent, UK
    Posts
    4,789
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Do you normally avoid the brightest part of the day?
    No, not really. In fact about six months ago when I first started dabbling in digital photography I forgot all about that rule and now I'm just too lazy and do an HDR instead.

    Sometimes I will take the trouble to walk somewhere before midday, for instance the sun should be over St Peter's bridge near where I live at around 10 am-11 am and might be worth a shot into sun; it all depends.

    Here is one I took at midday I like; nobody else seems to
    Does harsh light work sometimes?

  15. #15
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,323
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    To be honest, it's the getting up I hate, although once I'm up I generally enjoy the quiet time.
    I'll double your double negative and simply say "I agree with you (wholeheartedly)"

  16. #16
    PopsPhotos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Washington (state) USA
    Posts
    984
    Real Name
    Pops

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    I have been exposed to all the rules, but the one I remember most is what Bill Belknap drummed into me back in the early 50s. "Take the picture when you see it. You can always come back and try again later, but the storm might have moved in. Or, the storm might have moved out. You never know. TAKE THE PICTURE WHEN YOU SEE IT!" (Often accompanied with a knuckle to my forehead. )

    Pops

  17. #17

    Re: Does harsh light work sometimes?

    Does harsh light work sometimes?
    Whatever it takes and whatever you have got to work with. It also depends on your predominant genre. I don't hunt shots (never much liked conkering as a kid). If the shot is not in my head then I get frustrated and bored with tramping around for inspiration. The incidental shot is just that and in this case nicely executed. I just would not worry about the time of day since the end result works.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •