UNDERSTANDING LIGHT: PART 2

Photo by Johny vino on Unsplash

With our cameras today, very little attention is focused on lighting. Our cameras have a built-in “white-balance” system in it so that the colors come out right, even if the lighting is awful. So, why would I do this blog with the focus on different colors that light produces? Because you may run into situations, where the camera you own, even though it is supposed to balance everything to white, doesn’t do it.

In the photo above, I picked that because of the 2 different types of lighting in this photo. Let’s go over it, and I’ll explain more of the types of lighting:

The photo above is showing one of the most beautiful chapels in the world. The incandescent lighting is doing it’s job by putting out it’s natural color, which is kind of an orange, or gold color light. And the daylight coming through the stained glass windows is giving a beautiful rendition of the colors used in that stained glass. In fact, the windows in this photo, are the most accurate color.

This photo was probably done with a camera that had the automatic white balance. But, how is it supposed to fix all that? If it made the chapel area in the correct color, the stained glass windows would not be a vert pretty color. It is hard for any camera to adjust the white balance for any multiple colors of lighting.

There is only one thing in the world that can fix all the different types of lighting, and that is the human eye.

The one device that can give you the best color correction, to make things look normal, is the human eye.

Last winter, I was taking a walk in the park, and it was foggy. And this is the photo I took in the fog:

Notice the color of the light coming from the street lights. That is why this photo has the warm orange glow.

Now, the question is with some photos, including the one above, is: does this photo look great with this color cast, or would it look better with it color corrected in photoshop or Lightroom?

This photo, taken in the same park as the previous photo, had the warm glow to it, but was fixed in Lightroom. Which one do you like better?

UNDERSTANDING THE “KELVIN” RATING SYSTEM:

The Kelvin color temperature scale is used to describe the way various light temperatures appear visually. It is measured in degrees on a Kelvin scale (K) and typically ranges from 2700 – 5000 degrees Kelvin.

Virtually all light bulbs or lighting fixtures that come with bulbs included will reference on the package which Kelvin Color temperature is associated with the item you are purchasing. Having a complete understanding of what these temperature choices mean and how they will look in your home will help you to make the best lighting choices.  

Almost all light globes, or any light source will show on the package what the Kelvin rating is for the light produced. Take a look next time you buy a light globe.

I am one that likes my light in my house to be the most normal color possible. When I go buy a light globe then, they will either show on the package that it is a daylight bulb, or they may call it “cool white”. Either one will work, and won’t give you the warm color to your home. There are people who think that the “warm white” is better on your eyes. I don’t know how white can be warm. I still want my art work, my photos that hang on the wall to have the proper color in the room so they look right.

THE KELVIN SCALE:

This is a great scale that tells you exactly what color light globes are in their rating as compared to daylight. Daylight is the perfect light, and it produces the most perfect natural color. We know, however, that there is a thing called the “Golden Hour” which is the 1 hour after sunrise, and the one hour before sunset, and the daylight color is no longer accurate. But, it sure gives a nice warm color to everything lit up by the Golden hour.

Let’s look at the Kelvin rating of our light sources:
  • Daylight is “white light”, and it is what the light balance in your camera is calibrated to. So, this is the most perfect light we use in photography
  • Standard Warm White light bulbs are rated at 3200K. Looking at the Kelvin Scale above, you can see that it is definitely a warm yellow color.
  • Cool White light bulbs are not perfectly rated like daylight, but close. They are rated at 4500K to 5000k. So, you can see they are very close to the color of daylight (and that is the light I like to put in my home).
  • Fluorescent light is rated at: Warm white fluorescent bulbs range from 3000k to 3500k. Cool white range from 4100k to 4200k. Most people buy the Cool White bulbs. They look the most correct to our eyes, but, the cameras, and especially film, it brings out some kind of weird green color. I guess green is closer to daylight than the warm white.
  • Street lights: The International Dark Sky Association (I didn’t know there was such a group), recommends that street lights be rated at 2200K. Now you can see why my fog pictures, untouched, are so warm and yellow. They are not even on the Kelvin Scale listed above.
  • Flash on cameras, and cell phones: 5000K to 6500K. Nice for perfect flash photos.

CONCLUSION:

I hope that the next time you look at a light globe, you can see the actual color of the bulb. And then realize that it is not a color at all like daylight. It doesn’t matter what light bulb you choose, notice that it has a certain color cast and it can affect your overall photo.

Without vision, the photographer perishes

David duChemin

Technology is a wonderful thing. I am so grateful that I use WORDPRESS for my web hosting, and they are constantly finding ways to make my blog more professional. And over the next few weeks, you may see some more changes to the appearance and function of my website. Hope you enjoy it.

This article today was written by: Lanny Cottrell – 123photogo

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Learn how to take beautiful Landscapes

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
PART 2 OF 51 OF: LEARN ALL 51 SUBJECTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY:

Learning how to take beautiful landscapes takes practice, and patience, and learning how to “see” the landscape as a great piece of art. When I look at the photo above, I see a few things I have to think about when taking this photo and getting a beautiful photo like this:

  • I have a waterfall. I will need to use a slow shutter speed, maybe one second to get the blur of the water.
  • The sun is setting so my timing has to be perfect to add that color in the background.
  • Because I am using a slow shutter speed to get the water to blur, I will need to use my good tripod
  • The landscape is very green. I need to find a way to enhance that beauty
  • There are people in this photo, but, they are far away. Are they important to create this photo?
  • What lens should I use to get the area that I want in my photo?
  • What is the most important part of this photo: the sky or the land?
  • I need to be aware of subject or ground in the foreground of my photo.
  • Use depth of field to the best that I can…. F16 or F32 if possible
  • Is there any lines or shapes that will help the composition?
  • Plan on taking several photos, one under expose (-), and one over expose (+) to see if one photo looks better
  • Would there be another angle that might improve this landscape photo?
  • Can I do anything with camera filters that will help me from needing to do “post processing”?

Now, you are probably thinking that there is no way I would think about all those things. After you take enough landscape photos, the answers and tips will come automatically. In fact they will come second nature to you as you get used to finding what works the best for you. Let’s just take a look at some of these things that should be done, and I want to emphasize even more.

water falls in the middle of the forest
Photo by Diego Madrigal on Pexels.com

Here are several points we can take care of right here: You need to use a slow shutter speed to get the water to blur. In the first photo, I am just guessing that maybe 1 full second would be a beautiful way to make the water blur. Now, using your manual mode, to get the perfect exposure with 1 second, what is your F number? Is it F16 or F32, F22? If you still can’t get it to match, make sure your ISO setting is as low as it can go. 100 ISO is usually the lowest these new digital cameras will go. If you still can’t get it to match up, you will need a Neutral Density Filter for your lens. I don’t know any serious landscape photographer who doesn’t have a set of Neutral Density Filters. They are nothing more than a glass filter that cuts down the light through your lens, without changing any color.

Just a note: Any words that are in red, are linked to a website, where you can order these items. Or, just to check out the details of this product more.

To get real good at taking landscapes, the best photos are usually done by shooting in manual mode, where you can control the overall effect of the picture.

Photo by Blair Fraser on Unsplash

Another point made in the list above is the importance of a tripod. If you are going to take photos of landscapes where you need to use slow shutter speed, then you must have a Photo tripod. Just do it. Don’t say you can take a picture with the shutter speed at 1/4 second. It will show up badly if you enlarge it. You want sharp pictures, use a Photo tripod.

Photo by Vladimir Kudinov on Unsplash

Is it a bad thing to add people in your landscape photos? It is not a bad thing if you want to portray perspective in your photo. How big is the valley? How can I let someone know that I am on a cliff? Adding people gives you a great perspective on your landscape photo. But, I would only use them if you want to create perspective.

brown dock
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

One of the good rules in composition is to use “leading lines” or lines that direct your attention to a certain part of the photo. If you can find them in your landscape, then please try to use them. It will create more of a feeling of motion with your eyes, to see everything in the picture. If you have lines, then use them.

Exposure Bracketing.

Exposure bracketing is also a good thing to do to get good at getting the perfect shot. It is one way to tell, by the contrast in the photo, which photo would be best. It involves you shooting one photo right on to what the light meter says, one photo overexposed, and one photo underexposed. Some people will shoot more.

Exposure Bracketing For Perfect Details - Grey Chow Photography
5 frame photo bracketing exposure

You know you can delete any photos you don’t want to keep in digital photography, so take a lot of exposures, and when you find the one you like, then discard the rest.

Photo by Paul Rysz on Unsplash

I think every photographer would like to take their photo during the “Golden Hour”. Just when is the Golden Hour? That is 1 hour before the sun sets, and 1 hour after sunrise. The sky, the whole picture just looks warmer and more pleasing. And it is a time that every photographer loves. That is why they get up so early, is to get the perfect timing on the light of day.

pexels-photo-2166711.jpeg
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

When you go out to take your great landscape photos, a Wide Angle lens would be a lens you would usually use. Or a wide angle zoom lens would also be ideal, because you can vary the amount you want in your photo. These lenses get the “wide vistas” of a great landscape photo. You just can’t go wrong with this lens.

One more item to attach to your lens is a circular polarizing filter. I have done some “post processing” and find that one thing that works similar to a circular polarizing filter is the “dehazing” adjustment on Lightroom. I like to use that on some of my old photos, but, I can accomplish the same thing as I take the picture, using a circular polarizing filter. It cuts reflections off all non-metallic surfaces, such as trees, grass, and even the little dust particles in the sky. It brings out the colors of your landscape photo by a lot. It is worth the investment.

Photo by Ouael Ben Salah on Unsplash

Conclusion:

This whole exercise today was to get you to think about all the different things that go in to making an amazing landscape photo. Go through the list a few times, take the pointers we talked about, and practice, practice, practice. Once you go through this exercise asking all these questions before you push the button, you will be in demand for the amazing photos you take.

DAY 9 OF 10 – LEARNING BASIC PHOTO SKILLS: “INCORPORATE COLOR”

exterior of shabby pharmacy building in mediterranean country
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Day Nine: “A Pop of Color” — Incorporate Color

The colors in our photographs are evocative and rouse emotions within us. Color can elevate a mundane image into something beautiful and intriguing, and can tell a tale within the frame.

In this image of a door in Malta, the two shades of blue brighten an otherwise nondescript scene, and also add layers of story and perspective: Who lives in this building? What’s behind that door?

Today, pay attention to how color affects your image. Let color be the star!

Today’s Tip: Keep it simple: experiment with only one color.

Day Nine: “A Pop of Color” — Incorporate Color

In today’s featured image, the color blue is whimsical yet strong. Sometimes, blue looks and feels soothing and serene, but it can also look and feel cold and apathetic. While other shades are eye-catching in their own ways, here, the blue works well. A red door might change the mood of the picture, for example, and signal excitement or danger.

As you look through your viewfinder today, think about how a color makes you feel. Calm? Agitated? Energetic? Somber? As you focus on one color, consider these tips:

  • Choose a bold shade against a neutral background, instead of several colors competing for attention in a scene.
  • Look for a strong color within a basic composition of uncomplicated lines — your pop of color will stand out more.
  • Continue to experiment with POV as you shoot your color-as-subject — the color may transform as you move.
  • Don’t ignore soft, pastel shades — colors like mint and pink can make statements, too.
  • Juxtapose pastels with black and darker shades.
  • When in doubt, pair an accent color with white — you’ll see its impact immediately.
A green door against a white wall in El Albayzín, Granada. Photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.
A green door against a white wall in El Albayzín, Granada. Photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

Want to learn how to enhance your colors in your photography without having to go to Photoshop or Lightroom? A special course on using circular polarizing filter (click on it), to help reduce reflections, and adding color on your scenery and other things. Look for it next week. circular polarizing filter

The Facebook Page of 123PhotoGo, continues to grow. Check this out as of yesterday:

Share this website with your friends who just want better photos.

DAY 3 – LEARNING BASIC PHOTO SKILLS: “WATER”

body of water during golden hour
Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Day Three: “Water” — Image Orientation

We all have stories about water: how it has saved or defeated us. How it reminds us of family vacations, outdoor adventures, or the hot summers of our childhood. How it symbolizes a place we’ve left behind, or one we dream of visiting.

Here are the bright blue waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, at the site of a shipwreck off the coast of Bermuda:

How will you interpret today’s theme?

Today’s Tip: Ever wonder whether a photograph will work better horizontally or vertically? After you snap your picture, rotate your camera and take a shot from the other orientation — horizontally if you first took the picture vertically, and vice versa. Which way works better?

Day Three: “Water” — Image Orientation

Humans have binocular vision — which means we have two eyes, adjacent to one another — and naturally scan a scene along a horizontal, rather than vertical, plane. When composing today’s photo of water, experiment with both horizontal (landscape) and vertical (portrait) orientations.

If you’re aiming for a wide establishing shot, what orientation works better? How does a vertical shot affect your scene? In today’s shipwreck image, the horizontal format captures the wide expanse of the sea in the background, which makes the focal point — the tip of the ship — all the more dramatic.

Before you draft your post, study the different shots you’ve taken. Publish your favorite version — or publish both and let your readers compare the two takes! Here’s a shot of a man jumping off a cliff in Ibiza, Spain — while a horizontal image could work, the vertical orientation adds drama by emphasizing the height of the cliff and the man’s plunge into the sea:

Vertical shot of a man jumping off a cliff at Cala Tarida on Ibiza by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.
Vertical shot of a man jumping off a cliff at Cala Tarida on Ibiza by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

If you need inspiration, the submissions for this “One Shot, Two Ways” challenge show how others have tested horizontal and vertical versions of the same scene.

When photographic large bodies of water, the one thing most people miss is to watch the horizon line. If you follow the rule of thirds, then make sure the horizon is placed on one of the third quadrants. Like this:

Thank you for joining in this exciting new program of “basic photo instruction” and learning how to take the different types of photos. Today was day 3 of 10 days, so come back tomorrow!

Speaking of water, click on this link and see all the different products related to water. (click on the red: water).

DAY 8 – DEVELOPING YOUR EYE – “EDGE”

Day Eight: “Edge” — Straighten Your Image

At Ta Prohm, the jungle temple in the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, centuries-old carvings have fallen victim to time and tree roots. In some areas, walls still stand, their intact windows creating frames and portals. The solid, straight edges of the windows are a stark contrast to the stones that have tumbled down over time.

Today, show us an edge — a straight line, a narrow ridge, a precipice.

Today’s Tip: Use an editing tool to check the alignment and adjust the image so that your edge is perfectly straight. If you can picture in your mind the grid pattern of a rule of thirds, you will be able to easily straighten your edge, or horizon.

Day Eight: “Edge” — Straighten Your Image

Most photo editing software or apps include a straightening tool that imposes a grid over your photo — you move the image until your edge aligns with one of the straight grid lines, and voila! There are a few ways to tackle this, and many of them are free:

  • If you use Instagram, straighten an image with the Adjust Tool. Other phone editing apps — Snapseed, Camera+, VSCO — offer similar abilities.
  • PicMonkey lets you upload and edit any photo. To straighten, click “Edit,” choose a photo from your computer, then click on the “Rotate” tab. Use the slider to adjust your photo’s angle.
  • Pixlr Express works similarly to PicMonkey. First, click “Browse,” then select a photo from your computer, then click “Adjustment” and “Rotate.” Use the slider to adjust your photo’s angle.
  • Photoshop and Lightroom, two popular pieces of software, each have a straightening tool. In Photoshop, adjust a photo’s angle while cropping, or use the Ruler to see the precise angle of your line. In Lightroom, look for the “Crop and Straighten” tool; it’s the first icon on the left in the Develop Module.

You can also use these tools to make sure your leading lines go exactly where you want them, or to straighten a photo to emphasize the Rule of Thirds.

Rotating and straightening an image in Pixlr Express.
Rotating and straightening an image in Pixlr Express.

Don’t miss next week’s blogs, as I start another 10 day series of “Tips of basic photography”. It is always interesting to see other points of view in Basic Photography, and I am excited to show you these 10 episodes of Basic photography.

Ideas to help you keep your horizon straight, or edges. A tripod with bubble balance (Click on this link to see ideas) is a big help. Check out that link. My tripod has a bubble balance, and every time I take a sunset photo over the lake, I use that bubble balance to make sure my horizon line is perfect.

Mother’s day gift ideas (Click on this link to get some great ideas).