IN THE FIELD: Even Light

Outdoor photography relies on nature’s light, be it the even light of an overcast day or the direct light of bright sunshine. Both have their value and I shoot in both.

However, I freely admit I often prefer even light. Clouds or misty rain act as a giant diffuser eliminating harsh shadows. Subtle details and textures are more noticeable because they are not washed out from bright sunlight. And colors are often more vibrant.

If there is a dull lifeless sky, I try not to include it in the composition so the center of interest will have more impact. This may limit my options of views, but since I am shooting in an even light, I am not trying to capture a scene featuring a more dramatic light source. I’ll save that shot for a sunny day.

This past weekend, nature soaked the area with a steady rain for two days. When the rain eased up a bit, I went outside and set up the tripod to get a few shots of the woods just off our deck. I love the contrast between the wet trunks of the trees and the fresh green growth of new leaves.

Due to all the rain over the last few days, trees and shrubs seemed to have exploded with new growth overnight. And the lawn will probably need mowing every couple of hours over the next few weeks…there must be some kind of bionic lawn fertilizer in spring rains.


  1. April 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I agree with you, David. I’ll shoot any time, but if I had my druthers, I rather have the even light. As you said, overcast, or damp days can sure saturate the colors, both figuratively and actually, and make the really pop.

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I love the intensity of color on days like this. Rainy morning today so I’ll be heading out shortly to photograph some wildflowers we saw walking the pups earlier.

  2. April 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    How makes me exciting to read your sharing about photography… This is a wonderful photograph of the forest… I love so much to see them, and also I breathe in a forest… how smells… especially after the rain… Thank you dear David, you are so nice. With my love, nia

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Thanks you Nia, I love the forest also. Walking the dogs this morning it was raining a bit and the smell of the honeysuckle was amazing! I’ll see if I can get a few shots of it and post it later.

  3. April 26, 2012 at 1:44 am

    This is beautiful – I just love the fresh, intense green.

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Thanks Jo, It was hard to decide which photo to post. The woods came alive with new growth overnight!

  4. April 26, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I do love the intensity of the colours here. I love the saturation of colours on an overcast day. Right now – as I look out of my upstairs window on a very overcast day – the yellow in the oilseed rape is zinging!

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Meanderer, we have another overcast day today and the woods is such a vibrant green! I can imagine how your view from the window must be! We don’t have much of a view except for trees…lots of trees. Sometime’s I miss not seeing more than the woods but good views are just a short walk further up the hill. I wonder if any of the folks up their would trade homes??

  5. April 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Lighting gets me every time too! It never fails that I find things just when the sun is at it’s worst for a picture. Learning curve and patience. Looks like the surrounding area there has just gone FOOM with greenity 🙂 🙂

    • April 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I know what you mean. That’s one reason I bought one of those collapsable reflector/diffusers…except I usually see a great shot and would need one about about 30 feet in diameter. So I look for small stuff instead and wait for another day when conditions are better….if I remember…
      Boy, the woods sure did go FOOOOOOMMMMM! Overnight!!!!

  6. April 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    This reminds me so much of our beech woods back in the UK. Vibrant lime green and dark trunks in the spring. The leaves darken as the summer goes by. There is such a freshness in this photograph. i should do some photography in overcast conditions – today would be taking it too far. Cloud is down to low levels and we are fog-bound.

    • April 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      I love the changes that are seen in the woods. I’ll post another view of the woods taken that same morning in a later post. The woods is so thick you can’t see through! We have quite a variety of tree species here so it is always different. Overcast and dreary here too…rain later!

  7. April 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My favorite light conditions too!

    • April 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I feel these conditions sure make life easier!

  8. April 27, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I love this picture, it looks so fresh! In spring, when everything starts blossoming and trees get green I am always waiting for the first rain! It washes all the dirt and dust away from the greenery and everything suddenly becomes enhanced green, clean and fresh, just like in your photo 🙂

    • April 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Kristina, that is a perfect way to describe it! I too love when it rains for the same reasons!!!

  9. April 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I can only agree with the comments already made. Beautiful green, and all the more lovely in contrast with the black trunks. I think you are right about there being some “fertilizer” in spring rains. I’ve noticed that it seems to benefit growing things far more than the same amount of water applied from a hose.

  10. April 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I have to admit it sure is a pretty view. It’s best when out on the deck at 7:00 in the morning and all that can be heard are the birds. Nighttime can be a little spooky though…it’s hands over closed eyes dark! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks spring rains are better than water from a hose!

  11. May 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Green, green!
    I like this photo.

    • May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      The forest has filled in even more since I took this photo!!!

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