Behold, Light

Look at him taunting us with his 16 color cones. Credit: Idk i found this on ShutterStock

Chapter 1

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

Okay, so chapter 1 in every book is almost always about laying the groundwork about what they’re gonna talk about. Here’s what we learned in chapter 1: umbrella terms. “Lighting is the language of photography.” That’s the overall reason why this book was even made. Physics make the rules and this book just explains how to understand them. It laid out the principles, which are very important.

  1. Size of the light source is the single most important decision in photography. It determines what types of shadows are going to be produced.
  2. Three different types of reflections are possible from any surface. These determine why the surface looks the way it does.
  3. Some of these reflections only happen when light strikes the surface within a limited family of angles. Important: First decide which reflection is important/wanted and THEN use the family of angles to decide where the light should or shouldn’t be.

Things to keep in mind while you forge ahead on your path to photography:

Ground Rules

  1. You must have at least minimal competence in postproduction
  2. Shoot in Raw- gives you more information to work with

Ground Rules for Lighting

  1. You can never have enough tools for lighting, which leads into number 2-
  2. Work with what you have, even if it’s nothing.

That’s why you have creativity you dungle, you have to anticipate the limitations and find ways to overcome them in unique ways. That’s what it means to be creative. It’s literally problem solving at it’s finest.

Chapter 2

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

Photographers manipulate energy rather than matter, much like musicians, and Light to photographers is like Music theory to musicians. You have to learn the boring and technical stuff in order to have successful compositions. So what do we learn in chapter 2?

Brightness: brighter light almost alway is better. It produces sharper photos with better saturation as well as easier to work with in post production.

Color: most pictures are taken with white light, a combination of all the primary colors in terms of light. (Although I bet if we had more color cones in our eyes, white light would be a whole other color we can’t even imagine) Anyways, the numbers: high temperatures are more cool tone colors (10,000K are more blue). Low temperatures are more warm (2,000K are more red to yellow). Other numbers are: 5,500K=Daylight | 3,200K-3,400K=Tungsten. Those are the 3 standard color temperatures.

Contrast: high contrast shows when the light source hits the subject from roughly the same angle. Low contrast is when the subject is hit from all sorts of angles. We usually determine the contrast through the shadows. Other terms that are good to know are Direct transmission and Diffuse transmission. Direct transmission is when light passes through materials in a predictable path. Like a beeline to the subject. Diffuse is when it scatters unpredictably. Much like a cloud covering the sun.

Reflection: it reflects, come on people.

Chapter 3

Photo by Olga Dudareva on Unsplash

Finally we learn about the family of angles, but before that we learn about a whole bunch of other stuff. That’s usually how it goes.

Diffuse Reflection: same brightness regardless of the angle from which we view the subject. For example, white paper. At least she’s consistent color wise. (I swear it’s just because we lack color cones, it drives me insane that stupid shrimp can see colors that we can’t even fathom. They have SIXTEEN COLOR CONES WHAT. I have to stop thinking about it though otherwise I’m gonna go on a rant.)

Direct Reflection: also known as specular reflection, they’re mirror images of the light source. The angle that the light hits the subject is the same angle that it bounces off. Science people, science.

Finally the Family of Angles: the angles that will capture the direct reflection. That’s it.

Polarized Direct Reflection: Polarizing filters block the oscillation of the light energy in one direction. Perfectly polarized would be exactly half as bright as unpolarized. I don’t really understand it yet, but I guess it’s just less light photons bouncing into your camera. Why do we use polarized images??? I guess to compensate for slower shutter speeds or larger apertures. Also do you know who can detect circular polarized light? Yeah. You guessed it. Mantis Shrimp. What’s a person gotta do to be a Mantis Shrimp nowadays.

That’s my summary, mainly on my class textbook but also on my jealousy of Mantis Shrimp (Manti Shrimp?).

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