film photography · lomography · Photo essay

Photographing the Light

Who was it that said, “When you can’t find anything to photograph, photograph the light”? Well, whoever said it, it’s stuck with me. There have been a lot of times when I couldn’t get out to take photos, but I just really have an urge to do so. When that happens I photograph the light around my house.

Photographing the Light

The best light comes in through my front window in the morning. That’s where the cats live because it’s the warmest place in the house. Therefore, they often end up being my subjects.

Lomography CN 800
Jasmine Lomography CN 800

When metering for these types of scenes I usually go for the mid-tones, otherwise if I meter the brightest area the shadows will be too dark. If I meter the shadows, the highlights in the window will blow.

Lomography CN 800
Jasmine Lomography CN 800

I love when the light streams in through the window and across the floor. I sat these flowers in the stream to photograph them. Usually, I like to shoot this type of photo with black and white film, but I had Lomography Color Negative 800 loaded, so I tried color film this time.

With these photos, I metered more for the highlights because yellow flowers would blow out if I metered the mid-tones of shadows. Then I just lifted the shadows a little in post. I like the circular light reflecting off of the glass vase. It created a halo around the flowers.

Canon New F1 Lomography CN 800
Canon New F1 Lomography CN 800

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Final Thoughts

Photographing the light is a good way to practice metering on days where you can’t get out to shoot for projects. I’d encourage all photographers to do it. If you don’t have a window in your home that catches streaming light, use a lamp. Positioning it in different directions will give you different shadows and highlights.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve done this yourself.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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7 thoughts on “Photographing the Light

  1. Fun to look at and read.
    Jasmine is a beauty
    If you want an even more demanding test of metering and latitude, try transparency (reversal) film

  2. The light and shade are amazing. I’m keen to try the Lomography colour film. I’ve got an Olympus OM10, a Pentax MV1 and Yashica F3 – which camera do you think would work best with the film?

  3. Someone, perhaps Kenneth Wajda, pointed out that we don’t really photograph things or objects or people or scenes, what we photograph are the patterns of reflections of light from these things, not the actual physical things. This is certainly true, no light, no photograph. Perhaps a somewhat pedantic point, but true, nevertheless.

  4. You always do such a nice job capturing the yellow in flowers. It can be such a challenging color to capture for the very reasons you give around exposure.

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