Looking For Light, Part Two


These were the original photos I was going to use for the post titled ‘Looking For Light’. Neesa and I went to her first basketball game last Friday and afterwards while we walked across the semi-underground corridor between Union Station and the subway lines I noticed this section off to the west of the doors. Why did I not notice this before? Probably because it’s either filled with people and daytime, when the same scene is rather ordinarily-looking.

And that’s the point I wanted to make with this post: in photography, the light creates the feeling for the picture, not necessarily the scene. I should take a photo of this background during the day so you can see what I’m talking about.

Photographers are rather obsessed with light, not backgrounds. If a boring background has good light, it looks interesting. If an interesting background has bad light, it looks terrible. The best light for environmental portrait sessions are about within three hours of sunrise and sunset. Everyone wants sunshine on their wedding day, but high noon weddings fill wedding photographers with dread (harsh sunlight directly over the head is unflattering for faces). Very cloudy days make photos look flat, versus lightly cloudy days which are actually great because the light is even and light-sensitive eyes aren’t squinting.

In this case, a drab concrete area at Union Station looks dramatic because of the spot lighting — and it’s the lighting that caught my eye, not the columns. The spot lighting is above Neesa’s head, which is like the unflattering high-noon light I mentioned before, but the difference is that it’s spotlighting so it looks dramatic.


View a full-screen slideshow here.