Late November is a time of the year where good natural light is at a premium in Britain. There’s not much of it because there’s not much daylight as we hurtle down the bleak hill to the winter solstice on December 21st.
When there is sunlight, the low position of the sun in the sky can create delicious golden scenes and long shadows. If you time it right or get lucky, the results can be stunning. But for extended periods there simply isn’t much light around. On overcast days when there is formidably dense cloud throughout, it can seem like the sun never bothered to rise at all.
If you love shooting with available natural light, this doesn’t mean you should give up. In fact, you can even argue that low light photography in dark conditions has a unique sort of appeal.
Our unthinking default edit strategy might be to up the brightness and lighten the shadows, perhaps boost the saturation a little. But dark brooding atmospheres can ask you to think again. Underexposure and undersaturation can be equally effective in generating a certain mood or atmosphere. Darkness and shadow offer evocative rewards of their own.
In the same way you might watch how sunlight falls and shadows stretch, observe how streetlamps illuminate certain spots of a street. Think about how you might compose interesting images around it at different focal lengths to create a certain look or feel.
Darkness and low light also offers a good opportunity to test and learn the limits of your camera. What’s the highest ISO you can work with without it looking noisy and grainy and horrible? How low and short can you go with the shutterspeed and still produce an acceptable image? Experiment with your white balance settings at different ends of the temperature scale. Go play with traffic and dabble with long exposures. Go on a hike up a mountain and try your hand at astrophotography.
Not quite sure how you do it or what you need? Remember Google is your best friend and the information is all out there. Don’t get downhearted by the awesome work of others with more experience and how yours compares. Long term dedication and a degree of nerdery helps, but everyone starts somewhere.
It’s all a good way of getting to know your equipment and how far you can push it. Don’t be scared to push it and push it in different ways and fail and delete and keep failing and deleting. That’s how you learn and hopefully improve.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.