Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making My Own Sunshine

It's been a little difficult this week trying to write about sunshine and shadows when it's been raining here for days. Well, I guess the writing part hasn't been difficult, but rather the "taking photos to accompany the writing part." However, I keep humming the song from Terri's post on Tuesday, and remembering the lyrics, "it don't matter if it's raining, nothing can phase me, I make my own sunshine..."  So, in a way, that's what I've done, by searching my archives to find photos to accompany my words.

Today I'm talking about the sunshine portion of our "sunshine and shadows" theme, and showing you how using sunlight to back light your photos can enhance them in different ways.

Back lighting your photos can bring out intricate details in your subject:

Or can create soft bokeh:

Back lighting can create rim lighting, where the subject is softly outlined in a halo of light:

Or can create a soft glow, giving your subject an ethereal feel:

Back lighting can create silhouetted areas, while making your highlighted area "pop":

Or can create shadows to add interest:

And back lighting can create sun flare:

All of these different looks can be achieved by using the sun as back lighting.

Granted, back lighting your subject can be challenging from an exposure point of view, since there's so much contrast between the highlights and the shadows, but there are two important things that I pay attention to when I'm using the sun as back lighting:

1. The angle of the sun.  It needs to be low, and behind my subject, not above my subject. Shooting in early to mid morning, or late afternoon to early evening works best. And..

2. Spot metering. By using spot metering, the camera is taking the light reading from the small area of your focus. It's not picking up all of the background light and won't overexpose your shot.

I hope you get out in the sunshine and make your own back lit creations. It's amazing how many different looks you can get by using this one type of light source. Please continue to post your sunshine and shadows photos in our flickr group, and label them "Sunshine & Shadows" to be considered for our weekly INFOCUS selection. I've been amazed at all of the beautiful photos there so far!


AFishGirl said...

Spot metering. Right. I keep forgetting about that. These pictures are so, so beautiful. Thanks for showing the sunshine in such glory.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

These are such WOW shots. I especially love the whites... made me sigh for sure.

You are right, spot metering and back lighting is a sure ticket to some great light / shadow shots.

Inspiration as usual.


Dotti said...

Wonderful photos, Judy! And, as always ... it's all about the light ... and what we do with it. Spot metering is such a useful tool. So glad you reminded us about this. We've had some beautiful sunshine this week ... I'll send you some!


Deanna said...

These sunshiny photos are all so yummy. It is amazing what light does for simple subjects, creating beauty wherever the light shines. Beautiful post, Judy.

terriporter said...

Well, you certainly took the words "make my own sunshine" to heart and found some wonderful examples in your archives! I am fascinated by and love taking backlit shots. And, you're so right, the metering makes all the difference. So I was inspired by your post to head out this morning and take some new backlit shots and wouldn't you know it, it's raining for the first time in months! Guess it will have to wait until tomorrow. Love this post, Judy!

Linda said...

I do love back lighting! There is something so magical about the light when the sun is low and behind a subject! Not to mention sunflare! Such lovely photos! Thanks for the tips!


kelly said...

thank you for sharing these beautiful shots and for the tips. i am always amazed at the magic that beautiful soft light can create. love, kelly

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the back lighting tips! I have never used the spot metering but plan to as soon as I figure out how lol! Your photos are so lovely!

heyjudephotography said...

Thanks Kelly. Me too, always, always amazed at light and how it affects our photos. Thanks for visiting!

heyjudephotography said...

Thank you Susan. If you use a DSLR then you can find the different types of metering in your menu. There are usually matrix, center weighted, and spot. There may be more choices depending upon which type of camera you use. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

heyjudephotography said...

And you're the Queen of sun flare Linda! Love those morning shots of yours! Thank you.

heyjudephotography said...

What luck, huh? Rain today. Hopefully you can get out tomorrow and create some beauties! Thank you Terri!

heyjudephotography said...

Thanks Deanna. I know, I just love back lit photos. They are yummy!

heyjudephotography said...

Thanks Dotti - I do believe you sent your sunshine my way! We had a sunny,but chilly day here today, but I will take it! Beats all the dreary rain of the past few days.

heyjudephotography said...

Thanks for the sweet words Claudia. I'm glad I made you sigh... :)

heyjudephotography said...

Thanks Pam, I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks for visiting!

Carol said...

Just beautiful! I'm loving the to pine branches the best. And I appreciate the information. Like Dotti said - I also forget about the spot metering sometimes - but i know it really does the trick. I have a shot of my dog backlit somewhere in my archives. That will have to d for today - but this weekend , I will be backlighting!

Kim Stevens said...

Back lighting is probably one of my very favorites! Beautiful photos and illustrations of sunshine and shadows Judy!!

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