The light in winter is most varied; there are days when it’s clear and bright, carving the earth into light and shadow like a razor. Yet, at times, the light can be soft and quiet as a whisper, with color of the most intense chromatic variations anyone could ever need. – Peter Fiore
Ah light. The essence of photography. Ask a dozen photographers what their favorite type of light is and you’ll get a dozen different answers. First, there’s the source: artificial light, ambient light, or some combination. Then there’s the lighting technique: flat light, broad light, short light, split light, backlight, rim light, butterfly light, loop light and the Rembrandt technique. Did I miss any? Probably. But then again I’ve never been much of a technical shooter. I see something, I like it, I capture it.
That being said, I definitely have my comfort zone when it comes to lighting. If you were to analyze my professional work you’d see I work exclusively with natural/ambient light, with a preference for flat or short lighting. This type of lighting is universally flattering, and being a portrait photographer my ultimate goal is finding light that makes my clients look their best.
But lately I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn to capturing the exact opposite type of light – harsh light with high contrast and sharp shadows. Perhaps it is because I’m surrounded by this type of light at this time of year. The winter sun, unhindered by a canopy of leaves, is carving its way around trees and buildings, casting long deep shadows, and causing the texture of everyday objects to burst into life. It’s as if the sun is an intense spotlight and all the world is a stage.
Oh the drama!