IN THE FIELD: Afternoon Light


Chase the light. Find the light. The magic is in the light.


The camera captures light, our mind captures images.”


Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

George Eastman

In essence, these quotations all say the same thing. And I do believe light truly is the key to photography. It’s what we all try to capture on film or on a digital sensor. For me, taking a second look or finding a different vantage point to capture the light is worth the effort.

These tulips were growing in a small flower bed next to the side of a building. As I approached them, I couldn’t help notice their vivid color. However, when I sat down on the ground to get to their level, and I saw the sunlight accenting the petals from that angle…that was the moment the small grouping of flowers became even more visually impressive.

I metered this shot for the flowers rather than the overall scene. Also by slowing the shutter speed one half stop from the camera’s recommended setting, the background went dark and become under-exposed. This made the flowers really pop.

Dramatic light can occur at anytime of the day or night, and not just in the early morning, late afternoon, or immediately after a major storm passes through the area. This photo was taken a few days ago, shortly after 5:00 pm.

aperture f5.6

shutter 1/400th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

  1. May 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Beautiful, David! The dark background definitely put the focus more on the top of the flowers. It also allowed the red edges of the yellow flower to be more visible.

    • May 6, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Thanks Gracie, I really liked how these tulip have just a touch of red on the edges. They are very pretty indeed!

  2. May 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    That is gorgeous! I love the way the light has caught the red edges and the translucence of the petals 🙂

    • May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Thanks MB, it was a nice warm afternoon and I feel the light shows that also. I also like the red edges of the petals!

  3. May 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Gorgeous! The colors really do pop, and the composition just leads my eye from yellow to red. I enjoy photographing tulips, but I haven’t really figured out how to “see” them through the lens the way I enjoy them in real life. This is one of those great captures!

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Thanks Tricia for the kind words. I love to photograph tulips also…and there are some flowers that I have difficulty with…dark purple petunias…they show up as blue, and some, but not all red flowers just look too electric. I must investigate this more.

  4. May 4, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Gorgeous photo, really glowing. I’m guessing that was a challenge with exposure to get both the shadow and the intense light. Lovely!

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Thanks Jo, honestly I metered and bracketed the exposure for the flowers and hoped for the best LOL. I think because the background was still somewhat bright before I underexposed, I was able to retain some detail there.

  5. May 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Yes – light is so important! What pretty tulips with the red outline.

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Light…it’s what it’s all about. I love the fact there are SO many varieties and color combinations of tulips…one could stay busy for a long time!

  6. May 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    So beautiful dear David, amazing shot. Thanks and Love, nia

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Thank you Nia, I guess by now you know how much I love to photograph flowers LOL.

  7. May 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Reblogged this on photographyofnia.

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Wow thanks for reblogging this one NIa. You are so kind!

  8. May 6, 2013 at 5:00 am

    You are back! So nice to know.

    Great photo, David. 🙂

    • May 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I’m back and it’s great to hear from you Nandini. I sure did miss everyone!!!

      • May 19, 2013 at 10:54 am


  9. May 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    That’s really a nice capture!

    • May 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Thanks Montucky, you’ve got quite a few great ones yourself!!!

  10. May 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Oh now this is great! And the quotes are spot on.

    • May 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Glad you liked this one! The light was really nice that afternoon. Aren’t those quotes the best!

  11. May 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Perfect, David. A delightful capture!

  12. May 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you John, it’s been a banner year for tulips this year. The winds and rain have held off while they are blooming!

  13. May 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

    The magic is in the light and you showcased it beautifully here!

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you Karen, I took this shot lying down on the ground also. You’ll be reading I’ve been doing a lot of that lately LOL.

  14. May 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Lovely! Love the quote! 🙂

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Warm spring sunshine and aren’t those quotes great!

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