Color and Light

To see the larger version, please click on an image.

COLOR is an interesting theme today.  When you think of color in your images, do you want it there from subtle sources?

Look at a rose bush, most wold expect to be “green”, until you Really look…  there is old growth and new growth and every stage in between and look at the color  when you merely tweak the Contrast slider in photoshop:

I used this for my own study of color... comparing old and new growth of leaves on the rose bush. Adjusted contrast a little, otherwise this is not processed yet.

I can also see a bit of tessalation of the leaf shape mimicked by the ground, (tan), in the upper left open space between the leaves.  I was going to say, the leaves look wet.. They are at dew point, so this is not an evening image, but a morning, pre-sunrise image using diffused light, and dew drops are on the edges of leaves. Dew, doesn’t form on the leaf surface, but only on the edges…   Only two-dimensional images or surfaces can have a tesselation… I am going to leave that word alone for you to look up, as there are good examples online.  We studied this in a class called Color and Design which was two-dimensional, not three-dimensions.

Sometimes the best surprises are found on the computer screen after the image was already created and reviewed in the camera, and those are the joys of digital photography…. seeing something nice in your image on the computer screen you didn’t know was there..

This bird in the top of the tree was the surprise.. image here is cropped to show detail of the tree-top and is not all of the image... and this view, cropped is also copyrighted and may not be used without written permission.

Because the sky is white, with the rain front coming in, any zoom on this image above, makes it appear to have been painted.. That’s called a “painterly effect”, and was popular during the Pictorialist era of the early 20th century.  The f64 group opposed and countered the pictorialists by using sharply focused landscapes.  Those “pictorialist” landscapes had the goal of appearing to have been painted, by creating soft, out of focus edges on purpose… . See the f64 group Web link for more information.


"Bird on the Arbor" by Cheryl Gribble. Back light, top light, diffused light from the canopy of leaves. This bird flew in on a very hot day, and stayed a while, resting, sleeping, drinking, eating. It ate the seeds on the ground under another bird feeder, and bathed in the bird bath, and left. We have a bird hotel, in our yard... shade, arbors, trees, baths, feeders, etc. (I think they tell each other)

Without light, there is no color.  Letting some light into your color compositions will be so great… as it will enhance the color.  Light can add a lot of depth to your images.  Light can be an entire subject on its own… but be aware that top light on plants and flowers during the day, can wash out color and add too much blinding white spots, to be effective… Color on flowers is enhanced by diffused light, not direct light.

Purpose of Side Light:  Increases texture.

Side light enhances the texture of everythng from front to back. This is Idaho sunrise.

Purpose of Top Light:  Can show true color if the surface is not absoptive plant material.  Avoid shiny surfaces to use top light, or the surface will reflect the top light.

Top light example. Shadow falls directly under the subject. Wet sand reflected te sky. Gray sand is not as wet. Uneven wet sand reflects color and light. This is reflection of light to make the reflections of the dog. They (the reflections" are between the subject and the lens.

Purpose of Back Light: silhouette.. Avoid bright light making white-outs in your image when you use back light… control it.  Use a narrower aperture and a faster shutter then “auto”.. and try to learn to use the M mode on your camera.

Most images using ambient outdodor light have a mixture of lighting and also, light bounces off objects, reflects, refracts, and can be a tool to enhance your images, if you study light and understand how of optimize light. (not talking about flash here, but sunlight, diffused light, shade, direct light, and augmenting light… exposure times… etc.


When submitting landscapes for publication, the editors are tossing out the ones done between sunrise and sunset, keeping the ones done at sunrise and at sunset.  Golden light is an event occurring moments after sunrise, and moments before sunset.  On this blog, there is an image on the People link of the Projects page, showing a girl playing with her shadow on a fence…. and that image is taken during the period of “golden light”… so the fence appears to have been recently painted, but the fence is actually a flat brown in need of paint, “UNLESS Golden Light is bathing the fance”…  when this golden light touches the Painted Desert in Arizona, and captures are made of this special lighting, the images are “keepers’.

%d bloggers like this: