Taking the photography of Mann, Atget or Schmidt or a photographer of your own choosing as your starting point, shoot a number of photographs exploring the quality of natural light. The exercise should be done in manual mode and the important thing is to observe the light, not just photograph it. In your learning log, and using the descriptions above as your starting point, try to describe the quality of the light in your photographs in own words.
I actually chose to go out in the harsh midday sun for this exercise. I wanted to explore the harsh contrasts created by the bright sunlight and the dark shadows. My garden created a perfect opportunity for this with lots of foliage and textures.
While it is clear that this light is harsh and difficult to manage if looking for balanced exposure and flattering light, I felt for what I wanted to achieve this light is great for creating high contrast, vibrant and vivid images.
I particularly like the image of the discarded hose nozzle in the long patch of grass. The shadows create an eerie feel, like this is a secret hidden spot, and the sunlight hitting the nozzle, for me, makes it feel like the discovery of a long lost piece of treasure. The nozzle is in the spotlight, and takes centre stage like it’s calling out “I’m here”! I feel like softer light later in the day for example would not have created such a striking image.
As I walked around the garden I was aware that it was the pockets of overgrown foliage and piles of things with lots of layers that interacted the best with the sunlight and created the most interesting shadows. Areas with little texture or layering were very flat and the images washed out with little interest. Relatively boring images with no focal point such as the mass of weeds actually created an interesting abstract texture in the intense sunlight. But other images such as the image with the branch in focus in the foreground with the hedge out of focus in the background didn’t work as well as I hoped due to the background being just as brightly lit as the foreground. I think this would have worked better at a different time of day with some variance between the front and the back of the image to separate the branch from the hedge more.