The Magic of Low Light: Photography

Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy

Photography is the art of writing with light. -Gerardo Suter

I love visiting the ocean, and having time on the beach. To me, there is something about the rhythmic crashing of waves, the wide feeling of timelessness, and the gentle scrubbing of the saltwater and sugary sand to wipe away all of the world’s cares. I love being at the beach.

Gulf of Mexico Sunset
Gulf of Mexico Sunset

When I brought my first camera to the beach, I made the classic mistake time and time again. And I was always disappointed with my photographs. The colors always appeared washed out, my subjects were always squinting, and the objects I was trying to capture for remembrance always turned out pale. One morning, when I was up with the sun, I watched the woman staying next door to us, out with her impressive camera. After she was done taking photographs, she chatted with me for a moment, and made a comment I’ll never forget. “At the beach, don’t even bother to take photos when the sun is high. Only shoot at sunrise or sunset.”

Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy
Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy

Since then, I have found her words to be true, for more than just taking photos at the beach. Because when the lighting is low, the colors are rich, and the photographs become magical.

First Light, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy
First Light, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy

When I had a backyard garden in the United States with many roses, my favorite time to be in the garden was at dawn, with my camera in hand, as the light turned the dew into diamonds, and the roses and other flowers sparkled like gemstones in the low sunlight.

Kennedy Rose at sunrise
Kennedy Rose at sunrise

I began comparing the photographs I took in low light with the photographs taken in high sunlight, or with a flash, and the difference was unmistakable.

Dramatic light in the morning, a backyard daylily
Dramatic light in the morning, a backyard daylily
the Flat Light at midday, with washed-out color
the Flat Light at midday, with washed-out color
High Contrast Light with low morning sun, adding brilliant color
High Contrast Light with low morning sun, adding brilliant color

 

This month, I’ve been writing posts about photography, and some of the basics I like to use when I shoot. Here, the links to the other posts:

5 Quick Steps to Managing Your Digital Photos

The Joy of Photography: How to Find Your Inner Lens

How to Watermark Your Photos for the Web

Capturing the Beauty in Life: Photography, and Venice

Starting the Conversation: Can you see the difference in your photographs, from the lighting? Do you have examples of times when you’ve noticed your photos are better than other times?

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

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