In photography, there is much to catch in the morning hours – sunrises, dew glistening off everything around you, and the slow to low hum of the world awakening around you. It’s both invigorating and peaceful at the same time. I can’t begin to recall the number of times I’ve crawled out of the cozy warm bed in the middle of the dark, all to be at an ocean beach before sunrise, to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park before the morning glow catches the peaks of the mountains, or to catch butterflies and other creatures before the heat of the day scurries them away.
By the same token, there’s also something to be said for the waning hours of the day and the night time coaxes us to our nocturnal tendencies. The deep blues of the sky as the moon begins to creep over a skyline, the brilliant oranges and blues mix in unimaginable ways through the clouds, and streaks of headlights and tail lights bring a sense of motion to the darkness – they all lull us to stay up and about to catch the images the work-a-days miss. These are what draw us out at night. The downside is that your dinner is cold, or your spouse/significant other has already eaten and you chow down alone. Of course, you may be eating as you pour your images into Lightroom, Aperture, or other photo editor – beside yourself with anticipation of what you’ve captured.
There are pros and cons to being either an early bird (that gets the worm), or the night owl (that gets…a cricket?). I’ve enjoyed (and suffered) through both, but would love to hear your perspectives. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Sound off in the poll and the comments!
Most of the time the subject of the a photo is easy to see – whether it’s a portrait, landscape, travel, or architecture. While these subjects are easy to identify, the use of shadows in these topics is not discussed as often as it should be. We spend so much time trying to get the lit portion of our images in focus, composed to our satisfaction, making sure things are sharp, and all the rest, we sometimes miss the value of shadows in our imagery.
The shadows of an image can be just as important to the composition as the lit parts are. When talking about how to light images with strobes and studio lights, the use of shadows to give definition is often discussed, but the same discussions can be germane to naturally lit photos too. Remember, the word photography means to paint with light (photo and graphos), so even the absence of light can be significant in defining our images.
Whether you shoot portraiture, architecture, landscapes, or even abstracts, shadows can and do play a role in how you compose your images. Do you look at the shadows in your images? What story do shadows tell in your work?
You knew it had to come back to composition, right? I know, everyone is screaming by now “But Jason, you’ve talked about the Rule of Thirds until the cows literally came home!” Truth be told though, most people think about composition positioning with their subject matter. It’s true that subjects are ideally placed on a hot spot or along one of the grid lines in the ROT grid. But you can break the rules too, ya know! I say, put anything you want on a grid spot. Or don’t have a specific point of interest! Make the subject of your photo the space! Negative space, as previously mentioned, can be a powerful thing! Read more