Thursday, January 10, 2008


Good light and bad light - the how-to books of landscape photography almost always advise shooting around sunrise and sunset "to catch the good light," and I confess to having been in the past such a moralist of light. Light - "good," and, "bad"? It's not that I no longer love the sunrise hallelujahs and sunset hosannas. I don't think anything will take away the lift I get at golden hour when the low sun casts deep shadows - lights previously invisible textures - makes all surfaces glow orange. At such times I want to photograph every bark-wrinkled, leaf-dappled tree.

But, woe, my heathen ways lead me beyond orthodoxy!

Today on the internet I read, "There's no such thing as bad light, just misunderstood light." - I wondered, is a tornado just misunderstood wind. In spite of giggles, the profundity of light justifies the internet quote. The connections between feelings and qualities of light are very intimate and resonate deeply. The light of sunrise and sunset provides an emotional spectrum that is too narrow to light a horizon that begins inside us. In fact, when we understand more qualities of light, one can argue, we understand ourselves.

Two days could not be more different than Tuesday, when I took the previous, "gray," photo and Wednesday when this image was made. Midmorning on Wednesday big clouds blew through, and dry, clear air made the sky intensely blue. It was just the light I wanted for another go at the Kallstrom corn crib. I spent most of the afternoon inside it shooting light rays and shadow patterns. Part of me wanted to be outside seeing what could be made of the precious sunlight, but I stayed in the crib. When I finally came out the sun was just reaching that golden hour, and I decided to walk to Johnson farm to see what the sun was doing there. On the way back to my car I spotted this old picket fence catching shadow play from an odd angle.


Anonymous said...

wonderful shots, great use of light, as to all of your shots.
Thank you for your visit and kind comment

Julie said...

Ted - these photos are magical. You have a painters eye. Have you seen 'Working the Light' - contribution by Brit photographers including Joe Cornish. (Landscape photos)?

Ginnie said...

Oh, I LOVE your quotes about light, Ted, especially "when we understand more qualities of light, one can argue, we understand ourselves!" I love that.

Dick said...

I don't think there is bad light, only some light easier to make photos. But it's a challenge to make a good photo using the not easy light, isn't it?

Kerri said...

I just hopped over here from Dick's blog....and I can see that I have a LOT of exploring to do.

So far I LOVE what I see!!!

Ted Roth said...

EVLAHOS - Thanks for your visit and encouragement.

JULIE - I know nothing about WORKING THE LIGHT except what I just read on Amazon about the book. The few reviewers who had commented seemed genuinely inspired. I'll check it out. What do you know about the workshops?

GINNIE - Your visits are always welcome, and I'm always interested in which photos you choose to comment on and what you have to say. Thanks.

DICK - I absolutely agree, and, as mentioned, like all photographers I love the effects of sunrise and sunset. It's not only harder to shoot in poor light, but lso harder to get in tune with it.

KERRI - Thanks for coming by. I fully enjoyed your blog. It looks like we shoot in similar terrain. Glad to hear you'll be back.