The Art of Photography:Mike Mudd's Learning Log

The Art of Photography:Mike Mudd's Learning Log

Light: Cloudy Weather and Rain P1.

Module ExercisesPosted by Mike Mon, February 11, 2013 13:28:21

An exercise to help determine the effect of different natural light upon a scene, firstly the effect of direct sunlight versus cloud cover upon the colour of the scene, additionally the practical effects upon camera to obtain a good average shot of the scene in either sunny or overcast outdoor conditions are experienced

Part 1 of the exercise: photographing the same scene in sunny and cloudy/ diffuse conditions. For this I offer two images of urban nature. Scenes are photographed with in camera white balance set to sunlight/daylight mode

The first images, both of a glass plate office block near to Coventry City centre. The first is taken with a wide angle lens with the following exposure data:

28mm focal length (equivalent to 42mm for 35mm)

1/320th shutter speed

F9, ISO 200

The second image was taken with the same settings, a longer focal length (60mm for 35mm equivalent) but with a major difference of shutter speed, slowed down to 1/60th of a second to capture the much darker scene.

In observation the scene within the second image is certainly bluer in hue, the overall contrast between light and dark element is more muted and arguably the scene is of less visual stimulation.

The first image, with direct sun bouncing off the larger wall of the office provides good contrast to the nearer wall which is not in full light, and the illumination of the glass wall/window provides more colour contrast and texture contrast against the surrounding concrete façade.

My second image pairing is also urban scene, the same view in each frame looking upon a modern technology park and architectural space between the buildings. The images differ on shutter speed from F9 1/160th to F9 1/25th

In the first scene the brighter direct light on the building on the viewers left removes detail from the scene; however, there are equal patches of strong shadow, including shadow from trees affecting the foreground of the scene.

The second image is more blue in scene and offers less lighting contrast; however the scene does present a workable image of interest as the colour contrast in the image does equal if not cancel out any negative effect of the lacking light contrast. The blueing effect of the WB setting in camera is lessmarked in this pairings second example which helps!

As a result of this small test, it is recognised that the effect of opacity due to cloud cover strongly effects the light contrast of a scene, which in turn can affect the overall colour hue of the scene, but more notably the effect of light contrast high or low can strongly affect the aesthetic and inherent mood of a scene, however, light contrast also has to compete with colour contrast in providing interest to a colour photograph.

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