Learning reflection – natural light

As part of my learning about light, and about Sally Mann’s Southern Landscapes, I considered using natural light for my choice for assignment four. I wanted to document an idea I had of using fog and diffused light to capture an atmosphere of mystery and, perhaps suspense or fear, at a local beauty spot.

My opportunity was limited, in part because of the weather, and my attempt actually was reduced to a single practice shot:


F1.8 1/40 sec ISO 250 50mm

I chose mono rather than colour to try to create a sombreness, or rather to exaggerate an existing sombreness. I set my camera at an angle to try to suggest a feeling of disorientation perhaps, or discomfort, emphasised by the fog. I had in mind, the idea that someone was watching, hidden, and therefore a somewhat sinister mood. I reduced the contrast to exaggerate the foggy conditions and suggest a lack of clear vision, or confusion, experienced by the (imaginary) person being observed. I did not try to remove the litter on the path, thinking that this added to the feeling of discomfort. I am not sure the image will be seen by others as I see it myself, but overall I am pleased by my attempt to capture not just an image but a mood.

In fact, I was uncomfortable in this spot, and I took this image from the safety of my car. I was sufficiently uncomfortable that I did not attempt any more images, though I would have liked to try to produce a cohesive set.

In editing, I decided to add a heavy dark vignette. The purpose was to try to create the illusion of someone watching the scene from a hidden, secret place, perhaps through binoculars:


I enjoyed observing the light and using it to convey a particular message, and I enjoyed working out how to capture a specific idea as a photograph.


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