Seeing light, among the most important things a photographer does

This makes me sound like a total nerd, but my artist friend Mark Hassler, who I have done some mixed media collaborations with coined a great phrase. You almost have to be a nerd at something to be good at it. I have been out many times whether walking my dogs at a city park or on the city streets, and in the process have watched light. My favorite light, like many photographers is the beginning or end of the day, when the sun is soft and golden, unlike the harsh cold midday sun. I look at how light hits people, I enjoy the soft halo of light around their hair and bodies. As well as hitting the corners of buildings. This lasts a very short time, the fading sun hitting the texture of the building, making the perfect street photography image, where you literally may have 10 seconds before the sun moves and you’re too late.

Being able to see light and control light, and using it, are very essential skill sets for a photographer. It’s not just a tool to use, it becomes a way of life those on the outside may not understand. This is something I notice and think about whether shooting or not. Knowing a way of life for me is something many don’t understand can create some distance and almost make me feel invisible sometimes, even when in the midst of a crowd. Or sometimes 4 walls surrounding me no matter where I am, but it’s ok, people on my planet get it….those who aren’t, I can still live in Rome with the Romans but still live on my planet at the same time. I had a lady friend riding in my car after a night out, and it was dark. When she checked her phone, it illuminated her face and I was reminded how light is a gift. So subtle yet enough for me to see beauty ever so softly. Even driving under street lamps, they sent paths of light in the car as we pass by.

One afternoon I was home and under the weather. We all know how guys get when sick. I am never sick, so it makes me feel less productive and useless, but makes me all the more thankful for my good health. The late afternoon sun in the Winter can be so clear and radiant, I saw it pass through my dining room window and had to grab my camera, to see how the sun gently kissed the knotty pine wall. Old houses have such unique textures and features, wouldn’t trade it.

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A friend soon after came for a shoot, just to use that light, and I wasn’t going to cancel, I knew I could suck it up and get some sweet results. She showed me some fabrics she bought, only for us to put them to good use and softly capture her body in the same golden sunlight, hope you enjoy!

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