On Reflection: Week 11, Module Two

With a voracious appetite for knowledge of the subject, I thought I knew a fair amount about the use of natural light in photography.

Reading books and articles, watching videos … absorbing it all.

That is until this week, when I caught up with an online broadcast by fashion photographer Sue Bryce.

Material which I already knew was delivered in a refreshingly different way – and its always food to have a recap.

Bryce is a photographer who, during the early part of her career, has seen lean times and as a result has had to “hack”. It is her systematic and non-defeatist approach which has enabled her to identify the fundamental characteristics of light and light behaviour, in practical terms, which has allowed her to utilise familiar materials in unfamiliar ways to overcome problems which, at one time or another, plague every studio photographer, for example, the diffusion of “hot” light and the subtle reflection of light.

Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest, in fact, so simple that they are overlooked.

The majority of time this week has been spent on preparation for the forthcoming assignments: Critical Review or Practice, Work in Progress Portfolio (and of course, maintaining the online journal)

Practical work on the project has gone well this week – a few things went wrong, but that is OK because it provides a moment to stop, pause, catch breath and analyse what went wrong, and why, and then develop a corrective measure.

What have I learnt this week?

Well, putting thoughts into words – shooting with natural light brings its own unique “challenges” – not enough light and everything is lost in shadow, too much light and there is glare, or blown out highlights, try to control that phenomena and (arguably) it reaches a point where you are no longer shooting with “natural” light.

Bryce’s broadcast was most certainly informative and I did learn something new, but the main thing I learnt is a new way of looking at light and analysing its interaction with a subject.

I’m looking forward to implementing the ideas which have arisen as result of viewing this broadcast over the forthcoming weeks.

In addition to shooting images for the WIP, practical work has focused on diffusion material and backgrounds with considerable success. The preliminary research this week has identified opportunities for future exploration.

Finding props for still-life food photography isn’t always an easy task, the task is a lot more involved than it at first seems. However, this week I found “prop nirvana”, an absolute goldmine of food photography goodies … …

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