illumination |iˌloōməˈnā sh ən|
• (noun) lighting or light
• (verb) that which illuminates or gives light; brightness; splendor; especially, intellectual light or knowledge
• Physics another term for illuminance .
• figurative spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
• the intensity of light falling at a given place on a lighted surface; the luminous flux incident per unit area, expressed in lumens per unit of area.
• the art of illuminating a manuscript.
• a design used in such decoration.
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from late Latin illuminatio(n-), from the verb illuminare (see illuminate ).
Illumination is about what you can see in light and also, what you want to see because of light. Illumination can have an element of imagining something to be, where others may not. Interest can be found in what is less tangible nor can easily be explained. The part you don’t see, but feel. Or, what you see in shadow, but did not see initially. That is hard to capture in a photo. In art, too, but I find it easier because it comes from within. You put it where you want it.
Fully illuminated, like in really bright sun, an object offers less mystery or a reason to look closer. In the above photo, what you focus on is the small insect. The light is bright and you can almost see through him. But in the same flower below, you are more inclined to study the plant because the lighting was dimmed by the clouds and a bit more even.
When you look at light in the positive and negative, your imagination kicks in. With dark contrast comes conflicting feelings. It can elicit consternation of course, but also mystery. In architecture it is often done intentionally to bring the viewer from dark to light, to create mood and understanding of place.
Lighting contrasts increase your sense of curiosity and wonderment. It is where the dark areas make you contemplate the darkness, like what lies beyond. I really want to have the photographic skills to get those kind of images. The kind that make one think or feel. In architecture it is the design to strive for. The play of light off surfaces create magic, movement and mood. Time and light give the illusion of a changing environment yet, logically, you know nothing has moved or changed color. It just appears that way due to the power of light. Light and shadow alter perception of form and distance.
In the absence of much light, or just a tiny bit of light finding a surface is a wonderful opportunity for the viewer to look closer. And in looking closer, you lose perspective of what you are really looking at as a whole. You can engage in the image. Did you know that this is a rain-soaked rose above? Without much detail, it offers up a question.
To see details not seen in full lighting situations can become an experience. Lighting through membranes, natural or man-made, have a similar effect. Architecture is about creating user and viewer experience. I think good photography has an element of that as well, just in a different dimension. The viewer of an exceptional photograph comes away having ‘felt’ something. I know that sounds cliché but I often feel moved by art and photography. Good architecture has that power too.
I have always looked not at the object, but at the light. I think great light will always make a boring object better, but a good subject in boring light does not do the subject justice. Now the key is learning how to control the camera to collect the beauty of light, to amp up the ‘illuminance’ in a desired way.
You see detail not usually seen when shooting for the light. Remember as a kid when you would put a flashlight against your hand in a darkened room to see brightly through the glowing, orange-lit little hand? That always amazed me.
There is just something intoxicating about the deep burning color of the sun coming out from the shadows, more so than any other color. It is primal with the color of fire. And remember my post on Red and Yellow, Happy Monday from Sunflower Farm? A lot goes on psychologically with those two colors and orange is smack dab in the middle.
Less light intensifies bright colors in the garden, so on a cloudy or overcast day your flowers have more even, saturated color in your resulting photos. You can also probably set your camera to Vivid to increase the saturation when you find say, Autumn leaves and want that pop of color. I never used that feature on my Nikon, I just work with the natural light hitting in early morning or late afternoon to get the vivid intensity. Cloudy days are great for that deep rich coloring. But using Vivid is an option.
So is post editing – just bump up the saturation or contrast and you have a livelier image. Many times one that looks really unnatural though. I use Vibrance in Photoshop then fade to desired intensity. It is much more natural looking. The above iris image had Vibrance applied because it brightened the yellow a tad. The Delphinium below was straight from the camera.
The iris bud below looks like it comes from nowhere. The way the light hit this plant was the only reason I took this shot. I cropped out the soft focused Allium, but you can barely see the foliage of the other plants.
I like morning for just catching rays hitting a bloom. All else around is in shadow so the bloom looks like it is isolated as in a studio shot. It would need a little fill light from the left for that I think, but there was something about this image that I like, possibly the feeling of ‘new beginnings all alone’.
The rose below was shot yesterday morning. It too has a moody feel, because I was out during that few minutes before the soft touch of warm morning light got too bright. The only thing making it in any way special is the light itself. The soft pink buds in partial shadow/partial morning light are what gives my rose any interest.
The lack of lighting forces me to look deeper into the subject, finding maybe something that slipped my view when I snapped the photo. Intricacy and delicacy I did not see before. It shows up in a highly contrasted image too. The delicate folds and soft translucency of the iris are brought more into view, than say the orange iris above. Not that any of these are great photos, but these are things I see in them and hope to improve for future images.
Light creating shadows is often more interesting than the subject itself. And the intensity of the light in relationship to the object is another way to look at a subject. There was nothing special about this garden below, but the shadow cast by the tree was magnificent. I wish I exposed the shot better.
I often look at the light and shadow and not the object, like above. What negative shape does it create? How does the light drape a surface? How does it soften a form? What does it do with glare and movement? How does it intensify and accentuate texture and form?
One thing that has saddened me through the years is how, depending where you live, you really don’t see the stars anymore. This is my favorite light, not for photography, but for mood. The brilliant sparkle of the stars is unmatched and how the moonlight washes a surface is just magical. The sun is a star also, but the night-time stars are more mysterious. Again it has to do with what you can not see, but only imagine.
As a kid living in a rural area, the stars were an amazement to me. A sky full with crisp stars shining brightly. The last I had that feeling was in the mountains of Costs Rica where artificial illumination was not everywhere. We have illuminated away the magic.
Next Word for Wednesday, on October 5, is Repose.
Let’s all take a breather and r e l a x. Find a photo that says Repose. And please leave a comment to suggest a word. It is fun when we can use a word YOU pick. I like the challenge.
I am posting today because the meme is so new to give anyone a chance to join in. Please join in on Wednesday, or if your post is prepared already, Mr. Linky will be up at 8AM, Tuesday. If you have a nicely lit photo for Wordless Wednesday, you are welcome as well.
Mr. Linky will stay active for a week, so no rush either. The Month in Tens 2 will be late this mid-month due to Word for Wednesday, but look for it September 23.
I want to amend this post to say thank you to all those that joined, but more importantly, that much of the work on these blogs is photographically more adept than here on my blog and you MUST go see the posts. They have captured shots, that though my trying, have yet to accomplish. Make sure you CLICK HERE below on Mr. Linky to blog hop and see the beautiful photos and very creative look at the subject. Many have taken it off in a whole new direction and made some very insightful and erudite reads also.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…