A pocket of light – mmm, a favorite. It seems to always happen in perfect spots, highlighting something beautiful. It’s as if the light is saying, “look here, I want you to see this”. When I see pockets of light like this, they always grab my attention. I always want to grab my camera and take a picture because I love the simplicity that is automatically given to me, and I love the mystery that is hidden in so many shadows.
The great thing about this type of light is that it can be found at any time of the day – morning or evening light, midday light, it doesn’t matter. When you’re exposing just for that really bright, concentrated light and letting the rest fall to the shadows, the result is going to be interesting no matter what. We typically look for light that isn’t quite so harsh, but in this case, it’s a good thing. When you expose for the highlights, and those highlights are really bright, the shadows are going to fall even darker than they normally would. So keep that in mind as you’re shooting. In fact, use it to your advantage. I mentioned above that I love the way this type of light naturally simplifies whatever it is we are shooting, so use that in composing your image, use it to highlight a story, use it to make your image stand out.
We aren’t limited to bright, sunny days with this theme though. Soft, subtle light, when concentrated into a dark space, creates pockets of light too. The first two examples below, show how true that is. There was absolutely no direct, bright light coming through this small window. This bathroom is dark and the window is tiny – maybe 2 ft x 2 ft at best. So coming back to that dark space I mentioned – add in just enough light to create some separation between the two, and you’ve got a pocket of light. A subtle one, yes, but a pocket still.
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A bright pocket of light hitting this tree allowed for the background in this scene to fall very dark – darker than it would had it been evenly lit. This type of light gives sort of 3D effect to this image, making it feel like the branches are coming right out of the photo.
We arrived at our hotel room with the curtains closed most of the way. There was a mirror across from the window, and just enough light was coming through the sheer curtains to reflect and light up my littlest who was curiously playing with the phone.
Taking a moment to mention the fact that light has a way of triggering memories, just as smells do. I remember this moment so vividly – because of what the light was doing when we arrived. It was so perfect and I was so excited. I dropped everything and got my camera out and began exploring this new space through my viewfinder. Pockets of light seem to do this even more so than other types of light – for me any way. Probably because they are instantly more intimate, with the way they frame a subject and hide the distractions.
The light was just barely making its way through the trees and houses behind ours. It outlines my daughter and the branch she was holding so beautifully; the way it transferred onto film, with that beautiful haze, just adds to the “pocket of light” feel.
This pocket of light highlighted a lone flower so perfectly. This is what I’m talking about when I say the light is telling me to look at something. When it highlights and frames something so perfectly, I know it wants me to see and appreciate something, so I always do.
The same can be said for this photo, as the one above.
I have so many more images I would love to share for this theme but I think this will do. I am really excited to see your images this month!