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19 Dec 2010

Light: Project - Photographic lighting pt.1

Exercise: Softening the light
2 photographs

Due to the weather deciding that it was going to dump over Buckinghamshire and snow me in, I decided to skip ahead in the Light chapter of TAOP and do the photographic lighting exercises rather than sit on it and do nothing. Not sure if I'm meant to do this but being flexible is key when you can't go anywhere!!

I bought Light: Colour and Magic. off of Amazon as an extra resource for photographic lighting and I am really glad I did. It's in the recommended reading list for the course and it really does expand on the notes made in TAOP folder.

High Contrast/Hard Light

This first image shows an example of a high-contrast light source which is easily recognisable by the appearance of hard shadows; that is all of the rays are striking the object from nearly the same angle. With this Buddha head, a naked bulb is shining down from the top left of the frame to create shadows with sharply defined edges, cast from its features. For this reason, high contrast light sources are also said to be hard lights.

The diagram below shows an example of a hard shadow being created from high-contrast light source; the sun. The sun is considered to be a small light source owing to its relative distance from the Earth and, (when referring to single light sources), all small light sources are considered to be high-contrast sources.

Low Contrast/Soft Light

For the second photograph, the light source and the head have not been moved but a diffuser made from tracing paper has been positioned between the two. Its presence has produced a scattering of the light from the bulb and created a large light source, one of low-contrast. Now the shadows are far less defined and move of the Buddha’s face is illuminated from this scattering.

If we again consider the diagram of the sun the same effect is produced when a cloud passes between the rays and the casting object: the rays are scattered and the shadow is no longer clearly defined. Conversely, large light sources are considered to be that of low-contrast

The words hard and soft are used only to describe how sharply the edges of a shadow are defined; they are not descriptors of lightness or darkness.

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