Category Archives: Light

Natural studio

Sometimes we’re called to shoot just a head and shoulders portrait of a person (often referred to as a mugshot). In a studio a photographer can control the light, but out in the field the lighting conditions usually aren’t ideal. You can often ameliorate bad light by using a fill-flash technique or simply moving your […]

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Same water, different light

Here are a couple of examples of how quality of light can change a photo dramatically. I recently covered a Lincoln at St. Mary’s water polo game in Stockton. It was evening and the sun was fading fast. Before the game started from my position I could see the final golden hues of the sunset […]

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A casualty

For my last column on how to light glass, I decided to bring a few items from home to photograph. I checked out the refrigerator and saw a bottle of sparkling cider that would work nicely as a subject. I rooted around some more and found a bottle of wine tucked away in the back. […]

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But soft! What light though yonder window breaks!

The latest Readers Challenge assignment was to photograph something using only indoor available light. In other words, to take a picture using only the light that was available in the room, without a flash. Photography is all about light. How to recognize it when it’s good or bad and how to use it to your […]

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The great indoors

The next assignment for the Readers Photo Challenge is “indoor available light.” A common problem with photographing indoors is not having enough light but most people don’t think about the quality of that light as well. The first thing most people do when photographing inside is to use a flash. Whether it’s built-in or the […]

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Wax on, wax off.

There is a scene in the 1984 movie “The Karate Kid” where Daniel (Ralph Macchio), a bullied young man wanting to learn how to defend himself, is given a seemingly meaningless task given to him by mentor Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) of washing and waxing several cars. Miyagi instructs Daniel on waxing the cars with […]

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Photographing the perfect silhouette

I particularly like to shoot silhouettes. In truth, I probably shoot them too often, but I can’t get enough of them. They provide a strong, graphic image. Whether in black and white or in color, they tend to be compositionally bold with strong visual impact. Photographing a silhouette isn’t hard, as long as you follow […]

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Random Photo #13: True blue

Over downtown Stockton early one recent evening just after sundown, the blue hour rolled in along with some approaching storm clouds. The grey stone façade of the California Building on Main and San Joaquin Streets was bathed in the blue glow of twilight. But a ceiling light fixture seen through a window gave a warm […]

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Christmas lights addendum

There’s still a few more days left in the holiday season and with them a few more opportunities to take some photos of some Christmas light displays if you haven’t already. Once you’ve got the basics of shooting Christmas lights down, here are a couple of other techniques that are a bit more advanced. First […]

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Lighting up the holidays

Bethany: “ Is your house on fire, Clark?” Clark: “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.” From National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Christmas is the season of lights, and almost every neighborhood has at least one house that does it up right. Most lights are up for only a few weeks to a month […]

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