Saturday, April 4, 2015


Anyone who has done even a little photography understands that differences in the quality of available light can have a profound effect on photographic results.  This is especially true of landscape photography, and I have been repeatedly disappointed when trying to capture scenes in the middle of the day, particularly when it is overcast.

I thought I would illustrate those differences in the case of some photos I took of an abandoned farmhouse (a favorite "haunt" of mine) on two separate days under quite different lighting conditions.   I chose to render these shots as black & whites, though I think the same general differences would be apparent if the photos were rendered in color.

I have shot this farmhouse, situated a few miles from my home, a number of times over the last few years but hadn't been back for over a year.  Not much had changed.  For one thing all of the No Trespassing signs were still in place.  On my first visit the early afternoon sky was overcast, creating a relatively flat light that emphasized the mid-tone grays.  My second visit, two days later, was on a cloudless morning with the sunlight streaming nearly horizontally.  Here first are similar closeups of the house, the first taken on the cloudy afternoon, then second on the cloudless morning.

You might note that the two images were not taken from identical positions.  The first was taken from a closer distance, creating more of a "tumbledown" effect.  But beyond that, in my view the much greater contrast in the second shot evokes an emotion not present in the first.  My primary quibble with the second shot was that the sunlight was actually streaming through a stand of trees, and their shadows are visible on the front of the house, if one is looking for them.

The qualitative differences may be more apparent in a second pair of photos presenting a wider angle view.


Finally, here are photos showing an even wider angle that I cropped horizontally.

I feel there is an element of mystery in the photos taken on the sunny morning that is missing from those taken on the overcast afternoon.

I have found myself lately being pickier about light when choosing opportunities for photography.  Either that or I am simply getting a bit lazy.


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