COURSEWORK: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT

PROJECT 3: THE BEAUTY OF ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

Exercise 4.3

Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of course, a subjective term). The correct white balance setting will be important; this can get tricky –but interesting – if there are mixed light sources of different colour temperatures in the same shot. You can shoot indoors or outside but the light should be ambient rather than camera flash. Add the sequence to your learning log. In your notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.

I firstly set out to shoot some basic artificial light situations as I had not done this before. I began in a shopping centre:

contacts final-1Learning:

  • Whilst reviewing both in camera and post shoot, I was able to determine what had been the best manual settings to achieve a realistic capture of the artificial light.
  • Fluorescent lights give out a particularly harsh quality of light.
  • Fluorescent light which appears white to the eye can appear more magenta in hue when photographed – I need to explore different white balances in this context again.
  • Relatively short exposures can be used if there is enough of it, it can be easy to balance if it is well spread but more challenging if it is also of different light types.
  • I will return to this location to shoot at another time; although I will first have to seek written permission as I was challenged and stopped from further shooting this time!

I then moved onto outdoors: 

contacts-1contacts-2

Learning:

  • These were the first long exposure tripod images that I had ever shot so I learnt much at the time about how to optimise exposures.
  • I can now identify street lighting that is old fashioned tungsten with a rounded orange appearance and appreciate the effect that it has on an image, neon lights and fluorescent lights.
  • A mixture of different types of artificial lights are challenging as they have different temperature and my need a different white balance set.
  • With long exposures it is easy to capture light trails – the challenge is to make them more creative, thought provoking or give them an interesting context.
  • The night black needs careful balancing across the frame.
  • Neon lights create more contrast unless like Shintaro’s images they fill most of the frame and are not conflicting with other types of lighting.

How these artificial light images differ to the quality of light in my daylight exercises:

  • With artificial light there are multiple light sources to be taken into account, these may be of different directions or temperatures adding challenge.
  • Shadows are consistent whereas in daylight can change quickly as shooting.
  • Artificial light remains constant after dark whereas daylight can be challenging when it changes rapidly as you are shooting.
  • Artificial daylight will probably only illuminate part of the image or at least unevenly whilst daylight give more even light coverage.

 

 

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