Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tae Kwon Do

Greenfield, Massachusetts

Faded colors on a dark winter day. This light always seems more interesting to me than clear sunshine.

14 comments:

Martina said...

Hm I really have problems _seeing_ at this time of year with the faded winter light - nothing seems to be worth to take a picture of - I should try to get inspired by your approach.

Edd Fuller said...

I like the "dull" winter light also. My problem is that those gray days tend to be COLD. I hate cold, and it is hard to get motivated to get outside and take pictures.

Carl said...

Edd, that's interesting. I actually like cold weather, given proper clothing. The problem is that cold weather limits subject matter: even if people are out and about you can't really see them for all the snowsuits. But I find hot weather downright debilitating. People are everywhere in hot, humid, weather, but I'm trying to find a place to lie down in the shade...

Martina said...

I do not understand you guys ... ;-).

When I look outside I see dull things. I think, oh, this would be a nice object to take a picture of if there only would be some more light/contrasts/shadows/colours. But I will try and see my world with Edd-Carl eyes .. but not today - it is so cold outside :-P.

Carl said...

Martina, this is so inherently a visual matter that it may be pointless to address it with words, but I'll charge in anyway. Sunlight renders colors "bright" while overcast can render them "richer." Sunlight renders textures and surfaces edgy and linear, overcast renders them smooth and round.

Sun and shadow can actually obscure subject information. The data-density of your picture may be much greater in overcast.

So, richer color, more information about your subject retained in your picture, what's not to like? Oh, right, the cold ;-)

On a purely technical note, some digital cameras do a terrible job of auto white balance in overcast. Do a manual WB, or shoot some test frames if you are using RAW capture, and see if AWB has been ruining gray-day pictures.

So, go get bundled up in your warmest coat and get out there with your camera to explore the rich, round, descriptive power of overcast light!

Martina said...

Carl, I'll try, but ... I am not so sure if this can be reduced to some physical or technical aspect like white-balancing etc. (besides, I am not convinced about the "richer" vs. "brighter" aspect you described, but again, I will try if I might be able to "get" this) - (funnily now I am constantly looking outside, reading your comment again, looking outside - there is nothing rich in colour - only some dull green watering can).

Perhaps it is more a "personality" - thing? Things lack depth, look boring, plain, do not interest me enough to put some warm clothes on. That's why I am so keen to try another approach, to hear about other people's point of views - it is always interesting to do something outside one's comfort zone.

With some light, any kind of light, and some shadow perhaps I could make this watering can in something interesting, show some of the structures in the plastic, play with its form etc.. I am not talking about some glaring Southern France light, though - hey, I am in Germany, ;-).

Hm, now I feel like I should go outside and give my watering can a chance ... .

Carl said...

Martina, not all overcast is created equal, and I'm not looking out your window, so you may indeed be surrounded by dull-as-dishwater light. But overcast *can* have a wonderful glow to it. Something I've noticed is that changeable weather, the light you have when you are on the leading or trailing edge of a storm front, is often the most interesting. Maybe you'll get lucky and have a snow storm for your watering can!

Martina said...

okaaay - not too bad ;-). And nothing I would have tried if not for this posting, so :-9

Martina said...

Yes, I was talking dishwater light. Perfect description.

Carl said...

Hey, I think that's a nice little study. It certainly is completely different from what you would get with strong sunlight, and is even an example of how more subject information comes through in softer light.

You know, studio photographers very seldom use "hard" (undiffused) lighting. The whole point of "softbox" lighting units is to mimic the glowing light of a rich overcast sky.

Carl said...

It's overcast here too, so I took a snap on my way back from the post office and put it up at the top of the blog.

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Here's a different sort of overcast: http://www.pbase.com/skirkp/image/121919000 , warm (20C), and shadowless. I was using HP5+, and had no meter, but sunny 16 exposure worked. I've been trying to get the little white solar water boilers that cover our roofs to stand out, and this morning they did.

Carl said...

Scott,

Water boilers? I wouldn't have guessed that. Do they produce domestic hot water supplies?

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Yes, each holds water heated in a 1m by 60 cm solar thermal panel, maybe augmented by a little electric heat on a timer (thermostats are too high tech for an Israeli standard product). You take your baths at night, not in the morning. Count 'em, and you can work out how many families live in those buildings.

scott