The Light

Photography is essentially about capturing light. Most of the light we capture in image making is reflected light from objects. There are exceptions such as the blazing light from a fire or light from a burst of fireworks or lightning. Light can be of a diffuse nature, not emanating from a fixed source and this type of lighting can produce a very subdued and pleasing effect. Light can also be from a point source be very harsh and produce very hard shadows. Light can also come from different sources to produce different color effects. In every day life we see daylight, moonlight, artificial light, tungsten, fluorescent, infrared, flood lights, mercury vapor lights. In capturing the image the existing light on he subject creates the image. Light travels in straight lines and the further it gets from the source the weaker it gets.

We must always learn to take advantage of the light. We may prefer lighting from the front, the side or from the back. We may prefer harsh midday sun or we may prefer the softer sunset light with its bright red hues.

The Lens and Camera

The camera lens can be compared very closely to the human eye:

  • The eye has a liquid crystalline lens the camera has a glass lens.
  •  The eye has an eyelid, the camera has a shutter.
  •  The eye focuses light on the retina, the lens focuses light on the sensor or film.
  •  The eye has an iris, the lens has a diaphragm to control the amount of light.

The lens will focus a parallel beam of light from the subject being photographed to an inverted image of the subject on the sensor or on the film. As the subject distance varies from infinity to close up to the camera the lens will need to be adjusted or focused to ensure that the image on the sensor remains sharp. This focusing can be done manually by the photographer or automatically by the camera. An important part of the camera is the viewfinder which ensures that the photographer can see that the subject is in focus and that the photographer sees the subject the correct way up and not inverted like the sensor or film. There are many other details of the camera which will be discussed on this site and in further articles. Some are listed as follows:

  •  Exposure
  •  Lens Aperture or f-Stop
  •  Shutter Speed
  •  ISO
  •  Exposure Value
  •  Color Temperature (White Balance)
  •  Lenses and Focal Length
  •  Focussing and Depth of Field
  •  Long Exposure
  •  Dynamic Range
  •  Digital Camera Sensors

Further details on these topics can be found in the menu to the right of this article..