Lens-Artists Challenge #186 – Low-Light

The days are finally getting longer, a few minutes at a time. The change is subtle, but it is also visible. I’ve started to notice I was witnessing the sunrise when leaving the house and soon enough I will not have that pleasure any more. Low-light photography is also considered as night-time photography, between dusk and dawn, but I tend to see it in a broader sense. For me, any circumstance where there is less light than the normal daytime is low-light as it requires different settings to take a good photo. And those settings are quite wide too, depending on what mood is to be captured. I mostly play with shutter speed until I get what I am looking for.

I’m still quite proud of my first real low-light photo. It was taken inside Lisbon’s Cathedral, a 12th Century building in a Romanesque style, that is dark and refreshingly cool in a summer’s day. This feels like an intimate portrait of a group of friends. I could have reduced the shadows even further and get more detail, but I think I would be losing more than adding to the shot.

The inside of buildings are good places to explore and develop a taste for low-light photography. It can also be less dauting, as different light sources can be very helpful. I was lucky to have the statue off Christ in the Cross right at the light path, it gave an incredibly dramatic effect to an already impressive artwork.

The vast McEwan Hall, The University of Edinburgh also looks impressive, the light inside being so well thought no details were lost.

Outside is another game and I love it as I try to play with any light available as I would inside. Sometimes it works, getting the streak effect of cars driving past or people doing the same as me, capturing a moment.

Then we have those slightly odd circumstances where there’s light but it’s diffuse, soft and harder to control, as sunsets and, in this case, inside a glasshouse where extreme humidity together with low light made it very hard to get a shot.

Finally, a bit of fun with light painting which I recommend anyone to give a try. It’s not hard and the effect is quite striking. Here’s a good tutorial on how to achieve a light painting photo. I will not pretend I know much about it myself; I followed a tutorial as this one…!

Low light photography can be a bit scary but being prepared to play with the camera if not entirely sure of what settings to use can take a bit of the insecurity away. This week we are inviting you to share your experiences, good or bad, with this challenging type of photography. Do you have any tricks to make it easier, or is trial and error your way to deal with low light subjects? Please link your views to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you. Next week Anne will be our host, be sure to visit her wonderful site.


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