Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Shooting Into the Sun

I find that photography has fashions in the way that food, music, and of course clothes do. Not so long ago the pages of glossy magazines were full of images that employed very shallow depth of field, just the very edge of the raddicchio in focus please. More recently off camera flash has been the thing, just about every aspiring photographer has decided that portraits out side with dark smouldering skies and a subject illuminated by harsh off camera flash is what is needed to be creative. In the last year or so it looks to me as if lens flare is where you need to be to be hot. Lots of hexagonal globes of orange light, flare so strong you can only just make out the subject, the feel of hot blinding light. I have nothing against these trends, I do find their over use and the band wagon jumping tedious, it is as if the young guns of photography are waiting to be told what the next big thing is before they can make inspiring pictures.

Anyway, I found this well constructed site called Great British Landscape, I think the title explains. Here I discovered a very full and well written article by Tim Parkin on lens flare, how to remove it rather than how to get it. There is an introduction by Joe Cornish

“Almost unbelievably now, it isn’t that long ago since camera and film manufacturers encouraged would-be photographers to take pictures with the sun ‘over the shoulder’. Quite simply (and understandably) they knew that there was a better chance of the picture ‘coming out’. What they did not say was that it was also a far less interesting way to use light!

Today, modern cameras make a mockery of the exposure problems facing our photographic forebears. Nevertheless, shooting into the light still brings with it a multitude of problems. Excessive contrast is one, while lens generated and exacerbated flare is another. In this article Tim describes and provides various methods for mitigating or eliminating most of the major flare types.

Why should we worry? Well, self-evidently flare is a distraction, an unwanted blight on the picture. Flare draws attention to the fact that the image was generated photographically by a lens. So it screams, inelegantly, !π@&*>photograph<§Ω! If we notice the flare we are not so engaged by the subject matter.

As always in any form of expression, there are exceptions. Film-makers have deliberately used flare for decades as a way of evoking a sense of blinding light, and heat… but in many cases that may have been because they had little choice. Light sources in the image area are always prone to creating flare, especially with complex multi element lenses like the zooms that film-makers typically deploy. There may be some circumstances to keep the flare, and let it play a role. But generally this will be for artists self-consciously referring to the process, to the medium.

Hopefully Tim’s article will inspire you to confidently take the risk of going ‘into the light’. In landscape photography especially, no other lighting is able to potentially create so much emotional resonance.”

Read the article here http://www.landscapegb.com/2010/09/shooting-into-the-sun/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: