28 Feb 2008

Photographing in hard light - part 2

As promised yesterday, here’s the other – very different - photograph taken for The Sunday Times at Aberdaron in North Wales.

This time, rather than use a wide-angle lens and move in close, I have moved right back from the scene behind the village churchyard and looked at the beach through a small telephoto lens. I’m still shooting into that hard, contrasty light, but the effect is quite different.

The outlines of the gravestones are picked out by the backlight – remember, backlight exaggerates outline shape – while the curve of the beach stands out because of the glare of the sun on the breaking waves. This backlight has also isolated the silhouette of each of the small figures in the water and along the beach.

Slight under-exposure has given an almost ‘moonlight’ effect, but in fact the shot was taken around midday with the sun very high in the sky. This under-exposure and ‘night time’ effect can be even more noticeable when shooting into the light and using colour. It is most noticeable when shooting into the light over a bright, reflective surface – like the sea.

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