If you turned the sun and the lights around about the place off, what would happen?
You’d be in total darkness, wouldn’t you?
So therefore, if you want to make a picture, you need to first see what’s going on with the light you have available to you.
For example, in my picture above, you can see where the light is coming from by assessing the shadows.
Are they soft shadows? No, we’d call them hard shadows because of the clear distinct outlines they paint across the white church.
What about this one in the synagogue below?
The shadows are soft underneath the pews. There is a gentle graduation from dark to light without any stark lines like our first picture.
Along with the soft shadows, we also know logically that we have less light to work with than in the first image.
How about this:
Shooting the light source itself at night can trip you up.
Often times I show this image in my dSLR camera workshop and participants think they need a fast ISO because it’s at night.
But, because the light source of the carousel and the toy shop dominate the frame, you need to be selecting your ISO based on how bright that light source is.
This image was taken at:
- ISO 800
- 1/100 second (hand-held)
- F4 (for enough depth of field to pick up both structures)
Every time you shoot, and I mean every, single time you pick up your camera and turn it on, you must assess the light you have to work with.
The camera will not work this out for you because it’s a mechanical device. It is not capable of assessment and decision making in the same way you can do it.
So if you want to be a manual shooter, the first thing you gotta do is learn to see the light!