Sea Blue Lens

Seeing the (New) Light


Summer’s End

My next assignment in finding my eye was to do a photo shoot in a lighting situation that is different from what I normally use. As usual, the assignment asks that we notice our reactions throughout the experience.

I decided to take my photos at the end of the day as the sun was getting lower in the sky. Now, I actually do use that sort of light fairly often, since I love to head for the beach at the end of my work day. But since I’m on the East Coast, that means when I’m looking out to sea, the setting sun is behind me. This time I decided to stick close to home, and take photos along the narrow strip of riverbank behind my building. That put the sun in front of me and to my right, perfect, I hoped, for some nice backlight and sidelight effects.

I think the only ones who really enjoyed my “new light” photo shoot were the mosquitoes. (Has this been an unusually bad year for them, or is it just me? I can’t step outside without getting nailed!) I just wasn’t finding subject matter I was inspired by, and the light wasn’t all that interesting, either. I love sunset photography, when there are clouds to fill the sky and reflect colored light back to the ground. Sometimes, even when there are no clouds, the atmosphere at the horizon fills with beautiful, soft color. But on this occasion the sky was very clear and there was little atmospheric effect to be found.

Despite all that, I did get a few shots that pleased me. The photos below are not necessarily my best work, but they do show the effects of the low slanting sunlight.

The evening did have one final surprise in store. When I walked back around to the front of the building to go inside, I discovered this unexpected light effect. I love the contrast of the cool gray shadowed building and the last warm rays of the sun painting the tower.

9 thoughts on “Seeing the (New) Light

  1. Oooh, I love that contrast in light too. It’s hard to believe that’s the same building color on both sides! Good job finding some new light and some images you like, even if it’s not what you consider your best work. I imagine if you work with this light a few more times, you will get some images you love. Thanks for sharing – congrats on being “caught up.” 🙂

  2. Lee,
    It’s hard to struggle and even harder to admit to the struggle. This exercise has been a lesson in patience – with ourselves, with our cameras, with the light 😉

    It’s hard to keep shooting when you feel uninspired by what is in front of you. But you were rewarded for your persistence. Even I can recognize the beauty of that golden light on the tower.

    And I love the light on the fire thorn leaves – they look like they are glowing electric green from within. I think that is a beautiful shot.

  3. Good for you — you overcame the challenges and tried some new things. think you got some interesting shots…..I really like the silhouette of the two figures on the log(?), and the light on the building is lovely. Well done!

  4. Lee,
    I really like the photos you shared here, as well as reading about your excursion.

  5. Hey Neighbor….it is so much fun to see places I recognize in your images. I know exactly where you were. I like the 2nd and 3rd images very much. I would take those. Back lighting is tricky. I keep looking at images of others who do it well, to get ideas. There’s one woman who knows just how to put a person, umbrella, tree, or whatever right in the sun and let the light glow around it making a silhouette of the object….the images are magical.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your “stuff”….and yes, it’s perfectly okay to laugh when you read me…

  6. It sounds like you did a “dry run” – practicing with some subjects you felt uninspired by, so when the real opportunity presents itself, you’ll be familiar with the light. I love the effects of the slanting sun that you did capture – what about bringing a subject with you next time?

  7. You may have felt uninspired, but your images turned out great! In the first one I love the brightness on the leaf and I love the silhouettes and the water!! We may be struggling, but we’re learning!!

  8. I think they are some lovely shots! It’s great that you kept going even though you didn’t feel you found too many inspiring items at that time. Sometimes to keep working at it even when you aren’t “feeling it” is one of the best things you can do!

  9. That first image of the rusty leaf surrounded by the green ones is a winner for sure, and I also like the industrial-ness of the building with the silhouetted bridge in front. Though I think you found some great shots, I wonder if it might be necessary to look for subject matter in a different way when the lighting is different than what we are used to? I must say that one outcome of FYE is that I have become at least a bit more aware of my surroundings in terms of photo opportunities!

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