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Great Photography Begins with the Eyes

having to reexamine that very fundamental ability.

Vision happens when our brain assembles the various wavelengths of light that are reflected onto the retina that reproduces color, form and texture. This is the same process of making a photo, except cameras are far less receptive than the human eye and are generally not capable of creating 3D imagery without special optics. Furthermore the brain filters out the visual garbage allowing you to concentrate on a single object without the optical distractions of flairs and foreground shadows, a camera does not.

Change you mind improve your photo

Every picture therefore begins with seeing what’s before you unfiltered. Sounds simple, merely see what’s in front of you without unconscious mental adjustments. The problem is that we aren’t accustomed to viewing the world in that way; it’s a far harsher reality. Light inconsiderately glares off shiny objects, shadows stretch long and lead to muddy dead ends, colors either leap out or are subdued behind veils of dirt. The natural world is far more dynamic when the rose colored glasses are removed. Yet that very process is the beginning of making memorable pictures.

Light and shadow are the building blocks of photographic imagery. Color is merely a recorded wavelength of light, the frequency determining the intensity, the shadows determining the depth. Photography is sculpting two dimensional images with light.

Like a sculptor, a photographer must have a feeling for the medium in which he works.

The sculptor feels the stone, the photographer see’s the light, and the best way to perceive light is by training yourself to watch the shadows.

When light strikes an opaque object the result is an interruption of the wave of luminosity. Shadows show you which direction the light source comes from and is therefore critical information as to the type and texture of the illumination present.

Daylight presents the issue of being often harsh and always uncontrollable. Interior lighting is very soft and ultimately controllable but lacks full spectral brilliance. Both have their places in a photographer’s arsenal, and create their own effects by merely allowing simple principles to be adhered too.

Every wave of light leaves a shadow somewhere

Sunlight has every spectrum of visible light and is therefore the best way to express photographic color; it also will provide the highest volume of light density which extends depth of field. This is excellent for sporting events, nature shots and sprawling landscapes. A flower lightly misted with water, at a 45 degree angle to the sun will glisten like a fairyland portrait. Shot from the shadowed side will be an abstract silhouette.

Interior lighting allows you to sculpt the subject, which is why it is preferable for portraiture, and still life’s. Modern cameras have such high resolution that there isn’t an issue with color saturation any longer, except in low light conditions. Therefore the main goal indoors is to control the contrasts of light and shadow for optimum effect.

Whether you’re inside or out, the key to good photography is to see the picture before you make it. Remove the actual obstructions, or use them for effect, and watch the shadows. In the shadow is where you discover the radiance of a perfect picture

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