Available Light

Shannon Reed

Callie and I got together today to work on something artistic, but I'm having some kind of creative blockage.  So, instead of letting a perfectly good morning go to waste, I decided to share some of the pictures I took and write a little bit about available light (natural light) since I consider myself primarily an available light photographer.  I make no bones about my disdain for artificial light - it just doesn't give the same beautiful effect as natural light (there are photographers who have mastered artificial light beautifully - it's just not my cup of tea).  That being said, the light can be my best friend and my worst enemy; when it's good, it's so very good - when it's bad, well, I find another place to shoot.  :)  

There's a sweet spot - when the sun is just above either side of the horizon - and that's when the magic usually happens.  But, sometimes, sunrise/set shoots aren't always an option.  Today, for instance, we shot at the absolute worst time of day - high noon - when the sun is straight above and creating all sorts of contrasty, harsh light.  

Having Callie inside near a nice, large window or an open door created a beautiful and subtle effect.  In the shots where she is sitting in the doorway and the sun is hitting her from behind, I used a reflector to bounce and fill her face a bit. The result is just a nice, natural look; if pictures just rolled out of bed, this is what they would look like - pretty apropos for a long holiday weekend, n'est-ce pas?

As an aside, Callie and I share in common a love of Jeanette Winterson's writing.  One of the books Winterson wrote is titled, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, so we decided to have fun with oranges today.  As I mentioned, the artistic thing didn't happened, but we were able to make orangeaid out of oranges... or something like that.  ")