Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunshine On A Cloudy Day

College years were peppered with quizzes, tests and essays, and at the heart of most were the infamous compare and contrast questions. Compare - find the similarities. Contrast - highlight the differences. Interweave the two for good measure.

By nature, I prefer to compare, to find common ground. Contrast, with it's focus on divergence and disparity, feels a bit like conflict. An uncomfortable place to stand - in opposition.

Even in my photography, I shied away from contrast. The challenge of light – dappled, uneven, unbalanced – making a proper exposure complicated. Where to meter? How to best make use of the available light?


As the how-to books suggested, I searched for open shade and areas of soft and even light. I used reflectors to fill in shadows and diffusers to soften harsh light. And, while the pictures were easier to expose correctly and less frustrating to make, they were often flat and uninteresting. For years, I hesitated to take full control of my camera and make use of the manual features. It took me a long while to realize that the proper exposure and use of light were really up to me . . . to embrace my own vision.


But now I welcome picture-taking with contrast. Shadows that drop off to black . . . sunlight that shines on a spot . . . edges that define space clearly . . . contrast that gives significance to the ordinary.


Today's photographs required only patience. Waiting quietly with camera in hand, watching the scene unfold, there came a moment of sunshine on a cloudy day, when an afternoon snack could become a masterpiece.

19 comments:

  1. Where is the LOVE button Donna! I need it...and the Pin-it button too. These are over the top stunning...and your description of how you patiently waited for just the perfect light, and all the differences of contrast and compare. An exceptional post my friend!! Hope you enjoyed your snack after the shoot.

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  2. I love this style of photography and would love to see it more. I think the grapes highlighted are glorious and the darkness make the light only brighter. Did you enjoy your snack? ;)

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  3. Donna, these photographs are magical, really magical. I love the moody lighting and the subdued palate which makes the redness of the grapes really stand out. I'm glad you've embraced the conflict of the light and shadow as you've triumphed over your initial discomfort to produce some truly great art. All the best, Bonny

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  4. I so admire your process and swoon over the beauty you created and captured.
    Thanks for filling the world with loveliness:)
    -Jennifer

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  5. Your images are truly inspirational - what amazing colours, light, and composition! I adore a bit of sunlight in an image!

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  6. I definitely love reading your posts dear Donna, there's so much to learn in them... today I was fascinated by your analysis and the way you conduct it... first your clear introduction, then the fine analysis you make of your shyness in front of the rough world of contrasts and in the end your so wise conclusion tinted with calm and joy! This looks really like a master's class! You're so talented at putting your feelings into words... it's a real pleasure to read you... and yes, you've achieved gorgeous masterpieces! I should take the lesson for me and try from time to time to face this sort of challenge! I'm not only shy in front of challenges but also lazy...
    Your series of pictures is gorgeous Donna... with only a few props you amaze us... they not only are wonderful still lifes in the style of old Dutch paintings but also so lively pictures with a story... in this story we follow you as the light moves gently on your table and as the grape loses its grains along with your snack...
    Thank you Donna for the kindest words you replied to me in your previous post. I'm so glad and honored to belong to your wide circle of friends...

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  7. You ar so right it is all about us and how we use our camera to make the pictures we love, knowing the rules
    and then forget them. Really wonderful images !!

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  8. Oh yes the element of surprise and delight as the subject before pops or becomes diffused with light...

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  9. Love the tones and gorgeous light in these magazine worthy shots!

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  10. Oh my Donna, just pure joy in these images. The soft light and shadows you embraced and truly love these.

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  11. On Monday I was out taking pictures, too, in the indifferent light of "partly sunny." Two of my best opportunities didn't turn out because of lighting. But since I was trespassing and had to snap and run and couldn't go back, they will have to do. But I wish I had the time to wait for better light . . . your exercise in patience brings this home to me. Not all my pictures are snap-and-run. The ones that aren't, I should really, really think about light.

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  12. It really is all about patience, isn't it! These are absolutely amazing pieces of art! As I scrolled down...all of them took my breath away, but the last one? My favorite... Loved reading your approach...So well done Donna!!!

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  13. I really enjoyed reading this post and the process of accepting contrast in your photography. These are stunning images and your patience definitely paid off. I am afraid that's were I fail so often. I don't like to wait for that perfect moment.You are inspiring me to be a better photographer....

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  14. Wonderful post, stunning photos, love, love, love !

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  15. Beautiful light! The background goes so well with the plate. I was working with an image yesterday, trying to get rid of a shadow I didn't like. You have me thinking... maybe I should keep the shadow in the image...

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  16. These are just so prefer, Donna! Elegant, pretty and beautifully composed. Wow! :)

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