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Managing High Contrast Conditions

 

Canon 5D mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm lens @ 105mm Exposure Details: 1/125 second @ f4 ISO 400

Canon 5D mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 60mm Exposure Details: 1/60 second @ f4 ISO 400

Here are two images from a photographic workshop I ran two weeks ago in Central Victoria. Despite a fair amount of grey and dreary days of late, participants and I were fortunate to be blessed with beautiful sunny days for the duration of the workshop. But, bright light produces dark shadows. And the resulting high contrast conditions are a bane to most photographers. This post deals with two ways to manage high contrast conditions.

The first image features Alison, a participant in the workshop, at Dog Rocks in the late afternoon. The backlight produced a lovely rim light effect around her shoulders, arms and hair. A large boulder directly behind me, illuminated by the sunlight, reflected some of the light back towards Alison. The large size of the boulder provided a lovely, soft fill light to illuminate Alison and prevent her silhouetting against the brighter background.

Canon 5D mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 24mm Exposure Details: 1/30 second @ f8 ISO 400

Canon 5D mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 100mm Exposure Details: 1/50 second @ f8 ISO 100

The second image features a fairly dramatic black-and-white rendering of a tree and boulders at the same location. Bright light produces dark shadows, and a good way to make an image that includes both light and dark areas is to use the shadows as design elementsThe shadows need to either provide dynamic shapes or, alternatively, lines that serve to lead the viewer through the frame.

I’m off in a few hours for another weekend workshop. The weather isn’t looking as promising, but I’m sure it will be a fun and informative weekend for all.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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