One of the joys of having amazing supportive friends is that they let you work out your skills on them. Before you misread that, I’m talking photography. I have friends who let me practice learning my craft on them. Without that kindness, I’d have to go to school to learn the art of doing photos.
One lovely warm summer day, SM and another friend got together to do some mid afternoon light tests. I wanted to play around with the harsh sun to see if I could produce some softer photos. Why? Because I didn’t want to use software to make that look happen.
The key to making softer looking photos in harsh light is to find shade. It’s really that simple. However, what makes it hard is that shade looks that much darker with bright light all around it. Finding the right amount of shade is difficult.
Hence the test.
The approach was to use nature’s ideal shade makers, trees. Yeah. Crazy. And by the end of the test, the results started to look very promising. The lighting was also shifting and getting less harsh too, but that’s minor details.
What ended up working was finding a tree that offered minimal shading that was in the shade of a larger tree that offered it’s own minimal shade. Yeah, as you’ve guessed, not that simple. But it worked. Once the location was set, it was all about playing around with angles and exposures. (the shoot was three years ago… as the writing of this post… and the details of the choices of exposures are a bit foggy in memory)
In the light test, playing with the flash proved insightful. However, in hindsight, I didn’t note what settings I was using and didn’t play around with settings enough to capitalize on the learning. What was most fun was discovering in edits how the focus was thrown off by the light and the surroundings. Plus, it’s hard to manually focus when the sun is beaming in your face… you never really want to look at the sun bare or through a lens anyway. So estimates of focus was the key. Some shots came out amazing. Others total losses.
Hoping to return to that location next summer and do more testing with SM… who graciously is OK with me sharing these photos with you.
Feel free to leave a comment about the photography. I can always learn from feedback. Plus, let me know how you like the portfolio section… as I hope to build it out soon.
P.S. The shared photos are the later in the day photos that weren’t the focus of the light test. Some of the lessons of the test were being tested in the evening hour sunlight…