One of the things that makes photography fun and intriguing is the fact that there are virtually an endless number of possibilities. There are more potential subjects in the world than one photographer (or all of them, for that matter) can ever capture. The same scene frequently changes from day to day, and, with the shifting angle of the sun (or via manipulating artificial light), a scene can even change over the course of minutes.
Below are three images I captured (click on each for a larger view) recently, and they’re each distinct from one another in terms of lighting, subject and setting. Here are some thoughts on each one:
- “Iconic” – I framed the shot the way that I did, in part, to capture a number of the classic golden McDonald’s arches. There are five in this image. That symbol is such an icon of America. This photo was take outside at night of course, using only ambient light. It’s sort as if there are two pictures here. There’s the McDonald’s side and the street side. I guess it’s a little like a McDLT! “The street side stays street; the McDondald’s side stays McDonald.”
- “Brittle” – I haven’t worked with artificial (non-ambient, non-existing) light a lot. But for this shot of a leaf on a patio table, I placed an LED headlamp near or at the level of the leaf and shined it across the surface of the table, bringing out the tiny details and lending a a hard contrast between the light and dark facets of the image. It’s a very different light source than what was present for “Iconic,” where streetlights, car lights, and signage provided various sources of illumination.
- “Glub, Glub” – For this photo of a lava lamp, I just turned on the lamp and turned off all the lights in the living area of my house. Whereas “Iconic” relied on various sources of ambient light and “Brittle” drew much of its look from cold LED lights, the light for “Glub, Glub” comes from within the subject itself. The light is also reflecting off of the window behind the lamp. Not only is the light source within the subject, but, more specifically, it begins just below the subject. So the bottoms of the globules are dark on top and light on the bottom. Natural light tends to come from above, so having light shine on a subject from below helps lend it an odd, even eerie, quality. It’s much like when a kid shines a flashlight from under their chin to make themselves look scary when they tell a ghost story.