New Light Photo Shoot

The best part of Kat Sloma’s online photography course is that she invites you to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Most recently she challenged us to take images in a different kind of light than what we normally do. I chose to go with low light images since I often shoot in day light.  To make it more challenging for myself I chose to go to the basement and use only the small amount of available light coming in the windows.  Here are my favorite images showing what I have learned.

My subject became the broom in the basement. (This is where you cue the music from Fantasia with Mickey Mouse playing Merlin, the brooms, and all that water… only my basement is dry.) It was really dim and I use the tripod, trying several different settings.

This little statue is a favorite of mine. I placed it on a stand, in the basement, and used a flashlight to create the light. Once again I used the tripod and took several images, and I like this one best.  

Both of these photos were taken in color and converted to black and white. I have also adjusted the contrast where needed. I don’t do a lot of “post processing”, but when I do I use Picasa.

Here is what I have learned from this exercise. 

  1. I need the tripod. Being able to shoot a clear image in low light (for me) depends on using one.
  2. If
    I take the ISO any higher than 200 or 400 there is too much noise in
    the images. (Think graininess in paper printed images.) My best shots
    were with an ISO of 100.
  3. While
    setting the camera in aperture priority mode works well most of the
    time I think manual mode may work even better.  Sometimes in aperture
    priority mode my images did not look at all like low light images… and
    what is the point of that? If the light is low I want my images to look
    like it at least somewhat.
  4. Focusing
    in low light can be difficult even in auto focus depending on how low
    the light really is. At times I was able to use manual focus to ensure a
    good crisp image.
  5. I
    came away from this feeling much more confident about low light
    photography, whether it be night time or any situation calling for
    longer exposure time.


10 Replies to “New Light Photo Shoot”

  1. Fantastic experience Deborah! You really set up some very low light, making it extra challenging, but you got some great images. I'm with you, I like low light images that look like they are in low light. It creates a different mood. Congrats on the results and learning in your experimentation. I like both of these images in black and white!

  2. This was a very creative experiment and your results are really fabulous. Love both shots – I think the black-and-white processing works really well to bring out the texture and the special lighting. The broom was really creative – I think I will save that one for this winter when getting outdoors is more problematic. Thanks for providing some great indoor inspiration.

  3. What a nice challenge you set for yourself, and very nice results, too. One of the frustrations I have with my camera is trying to get it to stop thinking it knows best! Like you, I want my low light photos to look like low light photos. But the camera keeps wanting to give me that nice "normal" exposure. You did a great job of overcoming that.

  4. I'm sitting here thinking….why didn't I do that? I have a basement.
    I love, love, love that broom shot. I love how you cropped it, the black and white, the subtle shadow. Love it.
    Tripod is a definite. I have one and don't like using it. Takes me a gazillion times longer, but I know it's necessary for low light. I shoot often at 400 ISO without too much graininess-maybe it's the camera difference. I think you using manual was smart-especially to get the clean focus you wanted. Sounds like you made great use of this lesson.

  5. Wow, you really did set yourself a challenge…and you succeeded in a big way. Your low light shots are terrific, plus you proved to yourself the value of shooting in manual mode. I don't use a tripod as often as I should, so I guess that's a relationship I need to work on.

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