Part 4 : Light – Exercise 9 : Outdoors at night

Part 4 : Light

Project – Available Light

Exercise 9 : Outdoors at night

The photographs for most of this exercise were taken during a Night Photography workshop some time ago in London. It was tiring having to carry a tripod as well as all my camera paraphernalia plus trains and underground journeys.  However, I was pleased with the results as it wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated.  I felt much safer being in a small group whilst carrying expensive equipment around at night. I used ISO 100 for all the images and so used a tripod with cable release.

One of the first ones I took at 7pm. f/11 @0.4.  I got hung up at first at being on manual and making sure it was a good exposure – not really having taken on board that it needed to be balanced in the best way for the scene. The workshop leader couldn’t understand why I was worrying so much about highlight clipping! The sun was just setting and, as the Handbook suggests (p. 127) Tower Bridge appears much more clearly with the hint of light.

f/9 @2.0. The skyline is less distinct against the dark blue sky.

Once on Tower Bridge itself the workshop leader suggested I try 8 seconds @ f/11.

First attempts at light trails from the cars

I then set the tripod up at the side of the Bridge overlooking the other bank.

The sky was very dark by now at around 8.15pm.

Last week I went to my grandson’s school to their outdoor ‘Enchanted Enclave’. The children had to take torches/lanterns. They sang songs to us first and then each had a fairytale book to take to read with their guests. I didn’t think it appropriate to take my large camera and mainly I just wanted to enjoy it all. I couldn’t resist taking a couple of shots with my compact Ricoh though which I left on Program with auto white balance.  The lighting was from a wind-up lantern and torch which give a white light.  The exposure could have been much better as there is loss of detail on the book, but it was the atmosphere I liked. The auto white balance gave 6250K.  The flash WB in Photoshop is 5500 and shade is 7500. I adjusted the images to shade because it seemed the best.


29th November 2011

TAOP Part 4 : Light – Exercise 8 : Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

Part 4 : Light

Project – Available Light

Exercise 8 – Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

I have only done a part of this exercise so far, so will add to  it in time. To begin with I have looked at the differences made by fluorescent lighting.

This is the room where my morning drawing class is held (a local village hall) and the fluorescent lighting gives poor light actually as well as in a photograph.  I found myself wanting to add more clarity in the photograph just as I want to add a more natural light when I’m in the room!

This was with the compact Ricoh on program mode and it gave ISO 400 @ 1/124 f/2.5. Auto-white balance gave a temp of 4000K.

I altered this in Photoshop to Fluorescent  which gave 3800K so pretty similar and this gave the most realistic colour quality to me. I tried the other settings as well but they looked even more odd.


I also took a photograph in the town centre as twilight was just falling.

Again on Program f/1.9 @ 1/100 with auto while balance which gave 5350 (almost the daylight setting in Photoshop). The natural light outside looks reasonably okay, although a trifle dull, but the fluorescent lights in the Keelans shop look very orange.

I then changed the white balance in Photoshop to the fluorescent setting (3800K):-

The fluorescent lights in the Keelans shop now look more natural but the natural light outside is very blue.

In this kind of situation you obvious have to make a decision as to which white balance setting is best utilised, depending on the subject.  Another way round it might be, for instance, to take a picture like the above using auto or daylight white balance but then, in Photoshop to do a copy utilising fluorescent white balance. The two could then be combined.


29th November 2011

Part 4: Light – Exercise 7: Cloudy Weather and Rain

Part 4:  Light

Exercise 7 : Cloudy Weather and Rain

As I’ve been posting this blog I’ve been listening to Elbow – their performance in Manchester Cathedral recently. Great sound and I love their music (even though they’re from Lancashire!).

The Exercises

The clouds were drifting fairly quickly and I wanted to capture the difference this made to the top of the trees. Both at f/11 with the cloudier one at 1/40 and the sunnier one at 1/13, These are different trees which probably explains the difference in f/stop. The time was around 2.30pm.

The next two are 2.45pm – the same trees this time.

f/ll @ 1/8. It looks quite dull and I can see the blueness in the ground.

f/11 @1/13. The sun is lighting up the trees and the shadows are more definite.

The next three photographs were taken on overcast days on different dates and in different locations.

Here comes the rain

It was pouring down outside and I wanted to capture the raindrops. One thing I learned about rain is that you it’s difficult to see it on a photograph unless it’s against something – windows, car windows etc, or . I didn’t ahve to get myself or my camera wet either because I could take the photograph from inside the conservatory.

It had just stopped raining here and I love the way that the colours of flowers are intensified.

This is one of a set I took the other day when I was driving back from a meeting just before twilight.  I only had my small Ricoh GDR3 with me but it’s captured the rainbow (and a little of it’s twin). I don’t think the man in the car behind me was too pleased when I stopped but I was thrilled. I think rainbows are one of Nature’s miracles even though I’ve never found the pot of gold!

8th November 2011

Part 4: Light – Exercise 6: Variety with a low sun

Part 4 : Light

Exercise 6: Variety with a low sun: Project – The time of day

Auto white balance was used on all the images.

Around 8am on 2/7/2011


Fontal lighting                                      Side lighting

        Back lighting

The sun was bright, even at this time in the morning.  I can also see some edge lighting on the tree stump.

Around 4pm 22/10


Frontal lighting                                    Mainly frontal lighting


Side lighting                                              Side lighting

I prefer the quality of light in late afternoon as the colours are more intense. With the frontal lighting the light is even and so it aids clarity and sharpness.  There is more atmosphere though when shadows are included. I had wanted to take a photograph of the shop front for a few days but every  time I passed by there was a car parked in front.  This time, as it was getting nearer to closing time, the main street was less busy and so I was fortunate to get a clearer view of the pumpkin display. I’ve just emailed a copy of the image to the shop as I thought they might be interested in having it – the first time I’ve every done anything like that.

   Back lighting

The sun was shining straight through the flowers which are along the border wall of the Village Hall.   I didn’t bracket the exposures, mainly because I didn’t have my tripod handy and also there was frequent traffic so I had to be careful on timing.  Later, in Photoshop, I reduced the exposure by one and a half stops and also increased the blacks to provide more definition on the flowers.  There is a hint of edge lighting as well which shows up particularly on the yellow flowers.

I took the next photograph earlier in October.  It had been a sunny Autumn day and, as I stepped from the conservatory into the kitchen  I could see the low sun shining through the doorway and casting shadows against the jug of flowers.

Side lighting 2/10/11

This is my favourite image of this series and, generally, I do like the effect of shadows.

5th November 2011