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DPChallenge Forums >> Out and About >> DPC Mentorship - Natural Light
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07/10/2005 12:57:00 PM · #1
DPC Mentorship Rules of the Road

Group: Natural Light
Mentor: bear_music
Students: gibun, Jewellian, suprada, ShutterPug, chesire


1. If you are not an active member of this mentorship group, please feel free to follow this thread. It is not intended to be exclusionary - we hope everyone can learn from it.

2. If you are not an active member of this group but have a question or comment, please send it directly to the moderator by Private Message. The moderator will either answer you directly or post your comment and their response to the thread. Thank you for understanding that we are trying to keep these groups small and on-topic. If this experiment takes off, we plan to start more groups to try to accommodate as many people as we can.

3. Mentors are volunteers with jobs and/or families. They're human too, and may make mistakes on occasion. If you feel the burning need to criticize them, point out a mistake, or point out your own infinately greater knowledge in they subject they are teaching, please do so in a PM to the mentor, not in this thread.

4. Have fun learning!

P.S. To see updated group information, see my profile.

Message edited by author 2005-07-12 16:53:53.
07/10/2005 02:04:57 PM · #2
Okay, we're about to go live I guess.

Natural Light: What is it?

In a nutshell, this means working without artificial illumination manipulated by the photographer. My definition of "natural light" includes artificial lighting inside environments over which the photographer has no control. In other words, shooting interiors by available light, whatever it may be: lamps, ceiling downlights, tracklights, chandeliers, whatever.

I'm a natural light photographer, an available light photographer, always have been. Even when I shot architecture professionally, I was notorious for using the architect's lighting on interior shots; that is, I didn't bring strobes like most of my peers did. Why? Because strobes completely destroy the architectural lighting that the designer worked so hard on. We sometimes used floodlights for fill, and that's about it.

Still, I expect this to be primarily, if not exclusively, an "outdoors" seminar. There's obvious overlap between this topic and "landscape", and even "architecture", but we also embrace close-ups and details in general.

I've always been focused on the light, myself; for me the whole game is to work with light, use it to advantage. This doesn't always mean "dramatic" lighting; in fact, I'm more inclined to deal with the subtleties of light, as a glance at my portfolio will show. One of the things I expect we'll work on is on identifying the sorts of shots that BENEFIT from diffuse light (like cloudy days, high overcast, etc). I also imagine we'll be exploring backlighting in some depth; that's a tricky concept.

So let me ask you: what do YOU want from this group? In particular, do YOU want it to be freeform discussion, or do you want structured lesson plans? Tell me what yoiu want from me. Don't be shy.

Looking forward to it,

07/10/2005 02:15:23 PM · #3
I must say I am looking forward to all I can learn. I have a long ways to go and shall try my best to remember all the things discussed here.

I personally like a little structure. Just the way my quirky brain works. I have to have some sense of direction of how to proceed. But I can be independent at times =).
07/10/2005 02:57:39 PM · #4
I am extremely new to photography. About a month ago, my parents bought a new point and shoot, and gave me the task of learning how to use it and teaching them. While playing with it, I found photography to be a really fun and worthwhile hobby. Although I am not good by any means, I am willing to learn and add as much to the discussions as I can.

As for the group, I think it would run best with a little bit of structure and a lot of discussion. I think members should post photos and critique eachother, but there should still be some "formal" lessons as well.

Message edited by author 2005-07-10 14:58:58.
07/10/2005 03:16:56 PM · #5
I too would prefer structure as I have been accused of having adult ADD and can find myself wandering in the maze of my own mind without it. :)
07/10/2005 03:25:20 PM · #6
I have been photographing for about two years now. And I have focused more on composition and tried to focus on content in my photos. Its just recently that I realized that I've been very dumb in that I've not been evaluating the light conditions under which I shoot.

So from this mentorship program, I would love to learn, specifically, about the types, qualities of light and how to make optimum use of it, in general,. anything that is thrown at me. Structured lessons would be very useful, and so would discussions. xuan768's ides of photo posts and crtiques sound really good too. I would also like to hear what bear_music would suggest, as he has had previous experience.
07/10/2005 03:31:20 PM · #7
Okay, here's an assignment to while away the time and get y'all started:

Take a brick or some other solid, 3-dimensional, rectilinear object and find a space outdoors in full sunlight. We're not looking for artistic value here, so the lawn or a deck is fine. I want you to set this brick up and shoot it with the sun directly behind you, looking at a corner of it. Think of the brick as a skyscraper on a corner, and yourself as shooting it from the opposite corner on the intersection. The light will be flat, both faces will be receiving the same light.

Now move the camera so the light's off one shoulder at 45 degrees from behind you, rearrange the brick so one face is in shadow and the other lit.

Rearrange again and do another shot witht he light at a 90 degree angle from one side, arranging the brick so the light is nearly parallel to, barely lighting, one side of it and fully lighting the adjacent face.

Finally, do a 4th shot with the light leaving BOTH visible faces of the brick in shadow (backlighting).

I'll try to make some samples today and post 'em up, unless someone beats me to it.

Study and be prepared to discuss. Feel free to post your shots when you've made 'em. Repeat, don't worry about making them pretty.


Message edited by author 2005-07-10 15:32:21.
07/10/2005 03:53:55 PM · #8
Robt.--- I wont be able to do this until tomorrow as I work from 6pm-6am tonight. Hope I don't get graded down for being a day late!

07/10/2005 04:09:38 PM · #9

Like the others, I'd love to see a combination of structured assignments, and open discussions. I see the first assignment is posted, so I'm off to find a brick.

07/10/2005 04:10:22 PM · #10
OK, I'm late for the first day even.... oh well My wife and I went to the zoo today so I was out shooting anyway, and it's a bit dificult to take strobes and other lights there, so of course I was using natural light. So I can say I was ummm studying for the group... yeah that's the ticket, and did I mention my wife.. Morgan Fairchild? heh. I'll try to get the asinment done but my Mother-in-law is inviting us out to dinner so I don't know how much time I'll have. As for structure vs. freeform, I think it may be good to have a bit of both. Structured assignments and freeform discussions... or whatever Robt. decides on.
07/10/2005 04:17:22 PM · #11
You won't be graded. You just need to DO it, to get a feel for what we are talking about. We will be "naming" these conditions of light, and referring to them frequently.

07/10/2005 04:22:23 PM · #12
Bear_music - I did not really think you were grading - lol

How much time will you be waiting for everyone to post before moving on?
We need to pace this so no one gets left in the dust, and at the same time we don't put anyone to sleep. Maybe if when you gave an assigment you set a time/date for the discussion of the assignment to begin?

Message edited by author 2005-07-10 16:23:06.
07/10/2005 04:59:31 PM · #13
This one is just to get the ball rolling as we wait for everyone to check in. It's sort of fundamental and it can be done in 15 minutes. We'll organize more precisely somewhat down the road.

07/10/2005 05:28:32 PM · #14

Here are my pics. I'm not real good in figuring 45 and 90 degree angles. Hope I did it right.

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07/10/2005 05:39:51 PM · #15
Nicely done Evaan, looks like you might need to stain your deck in the near future though.... :)
07/10/2005 06:05:40 PM · #16
Hi I am Ian

I started using a digital camera last summer, so am very much a novice.
I found that I wanted to do more with that take holiday photographs.

I have some ideas about what I want out of an image; however this idea is rarely achieved. I am comfortable that I know how the camera will react in different light condition. (I have little control over shutter speed or aperture) but I do not fully appreciate how to best use the natural light to the greatest advantage.

I want to continue on that journey of discovery and one day hope to be able to say I there is light at the end of the tunnel and I have the capability and knowledge, in part, to utilise it.

I will carry out the first exercise tomorrow, as unfortunately it is night time in the UK at the moment.

07/10/2005 06:09:46 PM · #17
Checking in, and here's my homework.

Used full auto on the camera.
Cropped, and Resized as per basic here to 640, no other post processing.
It's about 5:30 pm here now so my shadows are bigger :)

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Message edited by author 2005-07-10 18:23:40.
07/10/2005 06:24:18 PM · #18
Going good. I'm sure people can see what we're gonna be driving at, eh? Now, anyone who reads this before completing the assignment, let's see if we can get a set from more at eye level (so we're not looking at the top of the object). It's not that this is a requirement for what we're showing here, but just for a different take on it. You'll see why. Be nice if someone had it from low and close with a wide angle, someone else from low and further away with a telephoto.

07/10/2005 08:01:22 PM · #19
I forgot to say earlier that I am pretty much a beginner. Have been taking pictures for about a year, and have had no formal training.

And, yes Jewellian, looks like the deck is ready for another staining. :)
07/10/2005 08:43:18 PM · #20
I think I totally bombed the excerise. I cropped out all but the sides. I didn't think the top or bottom were part of it.

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I do think I understand what you are saying. I had to write the instructions down about 4 times =).
07/10/2005 08:45:45 PM · #21
For a second Evaan I thought you used a stick of butter =)
07/10/2005 09:01:52 PM · #22
Actally dust devil, I like your take on it, makes it easier than clicking through 4 different pics.
07/10/2005 09:27:43 PM · #23
DustDevil, I see what you mean about the "butter." :) Actually, it's a piece of cream colored ledger stone.
07/10/2005 09:30:57 PM · #24
LOL just call me lazy......I think a brick would have worked out better thent he box I choose.
07/10/2005 09:46:43 PM · #25
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Here's my take. Cropped and resized.
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