Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Project 45

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Portfolio 19

For the first part of this project I have selected the latest "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" portfolio, Number 19 as the source. For each of the types of lighting I have looked for a couple of images that really exemplify the property of lighting  For the purposes of illustration I am copying the lowest resolution images from the site to my blog, having read the following passage under the terms and conditions

1. Use of the Site
NHM or its licensors or contributors own the copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material on the Site. You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, adapt or otherwise use any material on the Site other than for your own personal non-commercial use.

I am using these images as part of an accredited course in photography to illustrate my learning and so for purely personal non-commercial use.

Frontal Lighting

Much wildlife photography relies on strong frontal lighting, to bring out the qualities of the animal, but also, I suspect, due to the very long telephotos being used and the need to maintain a high enough shutter speed and fast enough focusing.

This image is superlative in so many ways, the complementary use of colour and the connection to the animals eyes.  The light is not fully frontal as there is a little shadow on the right side of the animals head, but not too much.

Frontal lighting here has picked up the reflection of light from the snow falling around the puffin and ensured that the puffin is well illuminated.  This is clearly not direct sunlight, but I suspect that a low winter sun diffused through cloud would be needed to make this image work.

Side Lighting

Side lighting was less commonly used in the portfolio, I only found a couple of images:

In this image the key is that the fox is mostly in shadow and so fairly neutrally lit, however, the side lighting affect on the snow covered tree provides excellent framing to the image.

Side lighting is not the main intent of this image, but it serves to add depth to the photo and provide some character to the bears face.

Back Lighting

Back lighting is much more common within the portfolio with a number of very evocative silhouettes, the following two caught my eye:

In both cases the lack of colour and detail in the animals focuses the viewer on the activity and movement within the images.  In both cases the fact that the sky is not completely blown out provides some texture to the images.

Edge Lighting

Two of my personal favorite images in the portfolio use edge lighting:

In this case the edge lighting adds to the image but does not dominate it, it reinforces the low angle of the Sun and adds to the wintery feel.

This black and white image is deliberately underexposed, just leaving the edge lighting of the fur as the representation of the male and female baboons.

Textbook - The Photograph - Graham Clarke

7 Diane Arbus: Identical Twins (1967)
This almost iconic image is an exploration of identity, but also of difference, contrasting the two twins slightly different expressions.  It is well lit with frontal lighting, probably on a cloudy day to avoid any shadow caste.  The even lighting is essential to focus attention on the facial expression and avoid any other visual distraction

30 Edward Weston: Dunes, Oceano (1936)
This image uses side lighting with a low sun to the right side of the frame.  This is essential to this image.  Back lighting would have generated silhouettes, frontal lighting would have illuminated the scene well, but the ripples in the sand would have been washed out losing any texture in the image.

39 Alfred Stieglitz: from the Shelton, Looking West (1935)
The deep black shadows of this image make the city scape look very bleak and inhuman, without the strong sunlight the image would lose any impact.

41 Weegee: Murder in Hells Kitchen (1940) 
Clearly made using a flash gun, the bright foreground illuminates just the dead mans face and critically the gun that perhaps killed him.  All else is almost back, with just hints of street and clothing detail - emphasizing the deadly relationship of Gun and Body.

47 Brassai: No 27 of Paris After Dark (1933)
The light in this image is entirely artificial, a combination of street lights and lamp light shining through the Windows.  This has created a moody selective lighting of the street just illuminating the two figures walking into the distance, in daylight the sense of mystery or even threat of the dark street would be completely lost.

53 Robert Mapplethorpe: Apollo (1988)
This portrait study uses a frontal lighting to create a very flat image, placing emphasis on the profile of the face against the jet black background

62 Yousuf Karsh: Georgia O'Keefe (1965)
Here the photographer has added an element of edge lighting, just illuminating the subjects face with the sun, bringing clear emphasis to this point in the frame

67 David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson: Baiting the Line (1845)
In this image of a fisherman the light is very strong a coming from high up in the sky.  The eyes of the subject are invisible in shadow pushing the focal point towards the hands and emphasing the fact that this is a picture of a working man.

77 Minor White: Portland (1940)
This image of a male nude is illuminated from below adding texture to the mans musculature, but also casting a dramatic shadow that spans the frame from bottom to top.

99 Paul Strand: Wall Street, New York (1915)
Strand has used very strong oblique side lighting with a very low sun to caste long shadows that seem to stretch all the way across the frame.  This also has made the Windows in the bank behind into black abyss like structures, very ominous.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photography of the animals. I love animals and like to play with it too. You have taken so care to catch them very properly. Thanks...

    r4 card