27 Feb 2008

Photographing in hard light

Here's a photograph I took for The Sunday Times some while ago. They commissioned me to photograph a whole list of British seaside locations, and this was taken on the beach at Aberdaron in North Wales on a hot summer's day.
The light was very hard and contrasty - what I would normally consider to be poor quality light, especially when shooting in black and white - but as a professional photographer working to tight schedules, I simply had to make the most of what I was given.
I started to look for shapes and shadows, and noticed the shadow of this chap cast on the windbreak. His shape has been distorted due to the angle of the sun, and this has added a touch of whimsical humour to the situation.
It is always good practise to look for unusual angles and the way light and shadow falls on different objects.
Of course, with this shot in the bag, I photographed the man from the other side as well - with the light behind me. But this produced a very ordinary shot.
The other advantage in photographing a subject's shadow is that those of you who are a bit nervous about taking pictures of complete strangers can do so without drawing attention to yourselves. In fact you may not be noticed at all.
Tomorrow I'll show you another, very different type of photograph taken in this same location on the same day.

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