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Alley Cat's tips to great photography


ABOVE: I was in a hospital I decided to bring my camera along like always and the moment arose to take a picture. I had to set the camera really fast because my subject was about to turn the corner. In cases like these it is imperative to know your camera settings.
BELOW: This dandelion with the sun shining through it is a very technical photo. I set the camera for the sun and not the dandelion, I fully expected the dandelionto be silhouetted.

Follow this column for photography techniques and advice from Alison Watkins.

Chapter 9: Light PART ONE

One of the many composition and design elements is quality of light. The word “photograph” originates from the greek words “phos” meaning light, and “graph” meaning “drawing,” so putting them together is “drawing with light.” All photography is light whether it be good light, dim light, shimmers, or beams of light.

A good photographer can work with light, but a great photographer can manipulate light to his or her advantage. No matter where you are taking photos, you should know the expected light and how to work with it. It’s a good idea, if possible, to scope out the area before you start shooting. What if you can’t scope the area beforehand? Then that’s where your photography expertise and experience come in.

It is so important to understand light, I cannot emphasize this enough. Trial and error is a great way to understand settings. You can find out what works and what doesn’t work. Different from our eyes where we can average out the dark and the light together, the camera’s sensor is set for one light. In automatic, the camera tries its best to average out the light but doesn’t work as well as our eyes or our brains. When taking a photo with multiple light sources, the photographer has to decide what is important to be exposed.

To every photographer, the sun should be very important. With the ever-changing sun, a photographer should know how to use the sun at all times of day; morning, mid-day, the Golden Hour, twilight, and even nighttime with no sun. I’ve already discussed sunrises and sunsets, so visit HERE for that column.

The Golden Hour is my favorite time of day. It’s when the sunlight is perfect, or at least seems perfect. If the name didn’t give it away, the sun almost turns... you guessed it- “golden.” The best example of the golden hour is around 4-5 P.M. (In day light saving time it is really around 5-6 P.M.)

To some it may seem like the best time to take photos, such as portraits, is at the brightest time of day, around 2-3 P.M., but actually the best time is when it cloudy. When the clouds are overcasting is the best because it limits the amount of shadows and creates a soft light. If you are planing for a portrait shot then definitely check the weather before hand.

Next week I’ll finish the topic of light. More light topics for next week include back-lighting, low light, and how light can affect mood in a photo.

Check back at the same Alley Cat time, same Alley Cat channel!


Alley Cat's
Photo Tips


Start shooting
Sunrises and Sunsets
Black and White
Long Exposure
Shoot in RAW
Back Button Focusing
The Challenges of      
      Sports Photography
Studio Photography
FX and DX
Street Photography
Painting with Light
Bokeh vs. Blurry
Tripods and Mounts
File Naming and

-Printing and Resolution

-Paid Gigs
-Gadgets and Gizmos
-Film Photography


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