IN THE FIELD: Magical Light

Although I don’t have a favorite time of the day to be out shooting, I am drawn to morning sunlight. Early in the morning, the light is on the cooler side of the spectrum. By about mid-morning the light has warmed up to a point somewhere between the cool light of early morning and the harsh bright light of mid-day.

However, afternoon light ain’t too shabby either. Later in the day, the color temperature of sunlight changes from bright harsh light at mid-day to the warmer, cozier side of the color spectrum. There are situations I find shooting in the afternoon to be better for a particular location.

This past weekend, we took the dogs to a park in the city for a morning adventure. It is a relaxing place to go for a walk, as there are pathways meandering through various perennial gardens. This is definitely not a time to leave the camera at home or in the car. Plants are blooming profusely with the accelerated spring weather we have had here.

One of the garden areas was planted in multiple plots, each about five feet square with pathways in between. This gave me the luxury to walk around all four sides of each one, looking for the best compositions and lighting.

These lupines were backlit by the early morning sun, and I was able to position myself to capture the magical light as it glowed through the flower petals.

  1. May 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Great photo, David. I, too, sometimes like back-lit flowers. But, having said that, as you know I haven’t photographed too many flowers lately. 🙂

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Bob, well I think you are keeping us more than satisfied with your avian photography!!!

  2. tedgriffith
    May 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Beautiful shot, David! They glow in that light, don’t they?

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Ted , yes they sure do glow! They were like beacons in the garden!!

  3. May 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Lupins already? Gorgeous with the sun through them. 🙂

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Yes things are really accelerated over here. Even the peonies are finished for the most part!

  4. May 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    This photo is so lovely!

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Thank you Karen, this was the only group that was blooming but I’m hoping there will be more later this week!

  5. May 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    The light master strikes again. 🙂

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Light master…you’re funny. Thanks T. An hour later they would have been in the shade from the giant trees nearby.

  6. May 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Very pretty! Thanks for sharing!

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Thanks Allthings, I guess by now you’ve noticed I have a thing for flowers LOL.

  7. May 14, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    That’s perfect use of the light! Lovely!

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Montucky, we had taken the pups back to the Jeep for water when I turned around and saw the light on the garden…had to go back to shoot the lupines!

  8. Jo Woolf
    May 15, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Absolutely beautiful – I would imagine the exposure for this was quite tricky.

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Thanks Jo, this one worked out pretty well. The exposure wasn’t to bad…I metered off the closest plant, and then under-exposed about a third of a stop to hold back some of the highlights. Then hoped for the best…I just looked, and that frame was the only one I took of that composition.

  9. Nandini
    May 15, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!

    😀 Thanks for photographing it so magically!

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Thank you Nandini for the kind words!!! It has become one of my favorites this year!

      • Nandini
        May 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

        I don’t know if I should have asked you first, but this photo is currently sitting as a wallpaper on my phone. And I’m loving it! My phone is shining, magically! 😀

  10. May 15, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Indeed, the light is very nice.

    • May 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Cornel, the flowers are really pretty when the light shines through them!

  11. May 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I’m partial to afternoon light over morning light myself, but that has more to do with the fact I like sleeping in than any objective judgement about its quality!

    • May 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Oh I know what you mean…nothing better than waking up when your finished sleeping rather than to a stinkin’ alarm!!!

  12. May 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    This is wonderful, David. the lighting is definitely spot on!
    I find that the early morning light is much more forgiving for floral shots (if you can wake up early enough), although I have to admit, most of my flower photos were taken in the afternoon.

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Getting up early is a pain…I have two canine alarm clocks that make it easier though.
      I honestly have no preference to morning or afternoon light because each type of light has it’s own qualities that I enjoy.

  13. May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Beautiful light and colours. I love lupins!

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Yes I do too…we stayed in a cottage in Maine once and about half of the property was covered with them! It was stunning!

  14. May 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Great shot of the backlit lupines! Such a pretty and rich pink. I need to get seeds for that color. I have purple, blue, white, but no pink.

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Fergie, I have to find some seeds somewhere because I would love to plant them all over our hill to keep out the weeds!

  15. May 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Wow, gorgeous capture, David! This is perfect!

  16. May 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Wow thanks Donna! I rarely ever say anything like this, but I am really happy with this one! I’ll be heading over to these gardens tomorrow afternoon/evening to see what else is blooming!

  17. May 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    My goodness, what beautiful work you do! Have really enjoyed perusing your blog!

    • May 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you Anne, glad you have been enjoying yourself. I’ve been on a floral kick lately compiling additional images for the next book. There will be new subjects shortly!

  18. May 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm


    • May 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Thank you, the light was really nice that morning!

  19. May 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Wow, just beautiful! You need to save this one for your next book!

    • May 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks Tricia, it will be included. Funny thing…Sharon now has to revise all the spring photos for the book because I keep adding shots. I can’t help it!! I wonder what she will do about summer…uh oh…

  20. June 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Gorgeous colors and lighting!

  21. June 3, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Thanks Sunset, I’m really happy with this one. The light that morning was wonderful. The air was cool but the sun felt warm. A perfect spring morning!

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