Looking for Light Pt. I: The Story

Today marks the beginning of a 3 part series called “Looking for Light.  In the first post I’m going to explain the story behind the photo, where the it was taken, and how I set the camera.  Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about the Adobe Lightroom processing. On the last day, I’m going to introduce a new exercise that is aimed at helping you “see” light and take better photos.

12.16.15 watermarked_4
Captured on a Canon 60D, 50mm 1.8 1/250 sec | f1.8 | ISO 3200

This is a photo of my sister (you can find her blog here) that I captured while we were out at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

We were all going out as a family and my mother said something about there being Christmas Tree lights.  Naturally I brought my camera and had an enjoyable evening with the family.  We were going home after the event and waiting for our parents to bring the cars up because both grandmothers were with us.  We were standing on the street corner talking when I noticed that Kristyn was lit perfectly by a nearby street lamp.  I snapped a couple of photos, but this one was clearly the best.

This was a candid photo, so I didn’t take the time to adjust everything I could.  I saw the light and the potential photo so I wasted no time in capturing it.  I knew that if I could expose it properly I could adjust everything else if necessary.

I was in a low light situation.  There was not a lot of ambient light around.  It was dark.  So I had my camera aperture wide open at f1.8.  However, I also wanted to freeze the motion, so I used a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, but that also meant a lower exposure.  So I used ISO 3200 because I needed to raise the camera’s sensitivity to light to compensate for the fast shutter speed.

Nailing exposure is a balancing act between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

I was at f.18 because:
SMALL aperture number  = MORE light.
BIG aperture number = LESS light.

I also used 1/250th of a second because:
FAST shutter speed = FROZEN motion & LESS light.
SLOW shutter speed = BLURRY motion & MORE light.

I used ISO 3200 because the fast shutter speed meant I needed more light.
Large ISO = BRIGHTER exposure but MORE NOISE.
Small ISO number = DARKER exposure but LESS NOISE.

I know that was a very technical explanation.  If would like me to go more in depth on another post or even make a youtube video explaining it, let me know in the comments.  If enough people ask for it I’ll do it!

Stick around for parts 2 and 3 where we go over the Adobe Lightroom process and the Looking for Light Exercise!

If you liked what you read, want more content like this, or have a question, let me know in the comments section!


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