Saturday, January 17, 2009

Turn to the Dark Side

A Cup of Blue
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
From time to time I see people argue about the backgrounds in macro images, and about how dark backgrounds don’t look natural –whatever the heck that means. Seriously what’s natural about macro photography? Do you see all the detail in a bee’s compound eye or the tiny “hairs” that cover most leaves without the aid of some sort of magnifier?


Light, and even the absence of it, is a compositional tool –and if you don’t view light as a compositional tool and learn to manipulate it then there are going to be some extreme limits to your growth as a photographer. Light is the most powerful compositional tool that you have, and learning how to modify it to give you the effect that you want in your images is one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face –but it’s also the most rewarding…

Take the photo with this post: I could have increased the ISO or decreased the shutter speed to get more of the ambient light into the scene, so that I could record the foliage behind that flower. But the junk in the background would just distract your attention from the subject –by setting the camera so that the flash was the only significant light source I made the subject stand out. Your eyes have no choice but to go straight to the flower and that’s exactly what I want them to do. The only thing that you have to do to really pull the effect off is to set a black point when you post process the image: A solid black point will keep the image from looking washed out.

More and more you're going to see me post about light and composition because it will make or break you as a photographer...
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