Low light and dark skies #photography

A few people have asked how I got into blogging and photography recently. I think people just do it when they realise that they can.

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Most bloggers are frustrated writers who would prefer to be writing for a top magazine but find their niche in blogging. It is the same for photography and I’m now something of a community photographer and I enjoy it because it is a constant challenge. Autumn and winter give me a new challenge – low light.

Sunny days

On sunny days it easy to take a photo like this one and you have lots of time to think about framing a nice picture. You  can think about getting some depth to your picture, too. I included a litter bin in the foreground!  Landscape photography gets more difficult as autumn brings dark skies and low light.

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Autumn

Autumn gives us a blaze of colour but that mass of orange and yellow can be overpowering. I normally use a narrow aperture for landscapes but took this shot lower than usual to highlight the falling leaves and used a wider aperture to get the detail of the bark on that tree. I like to experiment and gain experience every time I take a picture.

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People

At events, the light can make people look awful. This picture was taken close to midday when the light is very harsh. The two ladies are my local councillors and this picture isn’t too bad because I used a soft focus filter for all the pictures, that day. It isn’t always practical to stop and fit a filter and sometimes a sharp image, that shows every wrinkle and blemish,  isn’t desirable.

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Fluorescent light

I photograph charity events and this event was to raise money for Sam’s Dream. I was taking photos outside Tesco where it was cloudy and I had raised the ISO for those shots. Sam decided to explore Tesco and so I went too and took a couple of shots in the store. You can see how yellow this shot is. I have continuing problems with fluorescent lighting and again, although I can quickly set the white balance on fluorescent, that doesn’t solve the problem especially with mixed lighting. I think a filter might make the images better. I have bought an FLD filter which will be useful when I am shooting in a building with all fluorescent lighting. I have tried it in my kitchen and it works great, now I have to try it in the library and town hall! I also bought a set of filters with a 52mm thread and tried the soft focus filter on my 35mm prime lens. It makes the scene foggy so could be useful for Halloween pictures in the graveyard, but it is no good for portraits that I wanted it for. The reviews on the Neewer soft-focus filter are good, but it seems out of stock everywhere, even Amazon.

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Low light

I photographed a remembrance service on Sunday in really low light. There was some light from floodlights and, of course, I used a flash. You can see a number of ‘orbs’ in this image because was shooting towards the light. For many of my shots, I had no choice but to shoot towards the floodlights.  Even though, the camera uses TTL to measure the light and controls the flash. I had to override that and make the flash even brighter, so white faces became even whiter. With most people dressed in black, it was important to capture the spirit of the event, rather than get great pictures. Cloudy days give low light and raising the ISO can help cope with that but a high ISO at this event would have simply caused noise.

Winter

Photography in winter means coping with low light caused by cloudy skies but we can cope with that by raising the ISO as well as taking shots with a wider aperture. I’ll be taking more photos indoors where I hope to get more experience with mixed lighting. I will test my new filter this week to see if it really does make fluorescent light look like natural light.

For me, the autumn and winter will throw up more challenges but there will be sunny days and beautiful snowy scenes that will be really challenging but worth the effort.

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