Throughout our journeys, we reach many peaks. A peak consists of two slopes and once you climb one slope, reaching the top, you have to come back down. This is often where we find ourselves in a rut. Perhaps we’ve become bored of our own work and abilities. Now, reaching a peak doesn’t mean we’ve maxed out our abilities or that we’ve learned all we can. The process of learning anything is never ending. Reaching a peak and coming down from it, simply means it’s time to climb another mountain. It’s time to learn a new way to do this same thing we’ve been doing for 2 years, 4 years, 10 years.
Just like we can look for certain types of light and use them to strengthen our photographs, we can look for ways to experiment with, and modify the light we are given. We can use various items and techniques to achieve a unique look. Something to get us out of the ruts and same ol’, same ol’ routines we inevitably get ourselves into. When people ask me about my photography venture, it excites me because I get to talk to them about the importance of experimentation. That’s how I’ve learned everything I know, by trial and error. Trying new things, failing, succeeding, failing some more, stumbling upon unexpected successes and ideas, is the best way to truly learn any craft. This idea of experimenting and seeing what you might come up with is the reason for our theme this month.
So, what can we use to experiment with and modify light, and in turn, our photographs? There are endless possibilities here but here’s a quick list to get you started:
Copper piping (or any metal/plastic, short piece of tube/pipe)
Windows: shooting through them, reflections created – reflections modify light and the image itself and are very fun/interesting to work with!
A plastic baggy, water bottle
Smoke, Steam, Fog: smoke from cooking bacon, a campfire, steam from boiling water, make your own fog if you can’t find some naturally – getting this stuff in front of the light and your camera makes light rays VISIBLE and produces jaw-dropping results
Literally anything you want to stick in front of your lens to modify the light in some way, do it! I’ve provided a few examples as always, and am really looking forward to seeing what you all do this month! I don’t claim any of the above ideas to be my own original ideas – they have all been done before. The thing I love about trying out these ideas that often pass along as forgotten trends is, they push us in new ways and often lead to other ideas, as I stated before. One thing leads to another, leads to another.
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Using a Lensbaby Edge 80 – loved this lens, but just didn’t use often due to the focal length, so I don’t own it anymore. Lovely little tool though!
Rainbow flare achieved using a prism, carefully placing it in front of the light and lens.
Freelensed. My favorite way to modify light. A bit of “smile” flare is created using this technique. I love freelensing landscapes, adding something a little different to what has been done so many times.
Using a 1″ diameter piece of copper pipe. I shot into the sun and angled it up a bit to get this look.