Warm Natural Light

November 29, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Warm morning sunlight is great light - any photographer will tell you that.

Autumn sun seems to somehow always be warm. It might just be my imagination. Or maybe it has something to do with the cooler fall temperatures. I don't know.

Anyway, the other morning, as I was heading off to work, I noticed some of that warm natural light illuminating our backyard. Naturally, I grabbed a couple of photos, at the risk of getting into the office late - which really didn't concern me much.

The first shot shows the warm light hitting our split rail fence, making the wood look almost yellow:


Fence in Morning LightFence in Morning LightA fence illuminated by sunlight on an early autumn morning.


The second shot is a little more abstract, due to its composition. Take a look at it first, then I'll explain:


The End of AutumnThe End of AutumnAn elm tree illuminated by morning light near the end of autumn, when all its leaves have fallen.


This is our elm tree, and it's the most important part of our rear landscape. It's a huge tree and, when it has full leaves, it provides a canopy of shade for us. I thought this was a nice shot not only because the bare branches are lit up by the morning sun (just as in the previous image), and not only because the branches make nice diagonals through the frame (a compositional trick that you know I love, with lots of lines going from edge to edge of the image), but also because it represents the end of a season and the beginning of the next. Suddenly our backyard's natural canopy is open to the blue sky. Before you know it, those bare branches will be covered with snow.

If there's one thing I'm learning about photography, which is maybe more important than anything else, it's that a photographer always needs to look for good light. I've heard that for years, but it's just starting to sink in. "Good light" can take on many forms - but you know it when you see it, and it makes the difference between a "ho-hum" snapshot, and a truly interesting photo. I sometimes forget that, and worry too much about exposure and composition, and not enough about good light. I need to work on that.

This time I think I did better. Neither of these shots would have been as interesting without the great, low-angled, warm morning light.



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