Posts tagged “#backlit effect”

Pillars, temples, and bronze lion

September 21, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110921 Pillars, temples, and bronze lion - 1 20110921 Pillars, temples, and bronze lion - 2

This is one of the temple shots I took in Penang (Photo 1). You can see lots of pillars in temples, but they only look good when backlit or side-lit by ambient or artificial light. They look more interesting if you make the objects look abstract using a specific composition. I have no idea what this sculpture is but I still find it intriguing. You can find out yourself by rotating it clockwise, which is its normal orientation.

Photo 2 shows you what the afternoon sunlight can do to a picture. This was shot inside the same temple as Photo 1. The low sunlight around 4:00 p.m. shed light on the floor through this door and made it quite a scene. Photo 3 was taken a bit earlier at the same site. The scene caught my eye because there are a lot of colors involved. Photo 4, however, was not taken in Penang. Rather, it was shot later in Hong Kong’s most famous temple, Wong Tai Sin Temple. It was an overcast day, but as long as the subjects are interesting, we can still take decent pictures. The bronze lion here has interesting shapes and the way it reflects the light did make a good picture. Coupled with the shining gold and red colors of the temple, the whole scene is one of the best scenarios for travel photos.

20110921 Pillars, temples, and bronze lion - 3

20110921 Pillars, temples, and bronze lion - 4

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 17-40mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1

Shooting with the setting sun

August 26, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 1 20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 2

I shot Photos 1 and 2 at around 5:00 in the afternoon. As you can see, the quality of light is different, since I was shooting against the sun in Photo 2 (Photo 3 shows you more of that environment), and the flare had washed off the color of the picture. And for Photo 1, I just took advantage of the setting sun to light the leaves in front of me.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 3

In the previous blog I said something about shooting during the golden moments — the magic hours. Conventional thinking on this practice, as I mentioned, is to embrace the low front light, or side light, coming from the setting sun (like the looks shown in Photos 4, 5, and 6). Yet many people love the backlit effect of the setting sun and the flare that appears in their picture to the extent that they yearn to have a picture whose color was washed off by this flare. This is the so-called Japanese style of photography. I shot some photos of a girl with this kind of effect the other day, to give it a try (Photos 7 and 8).

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 4

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 5

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 6

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 7 20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 8

Likewise, Photo 2 was taken with the goal of showing the beautifully backlit trees in the late afternoon. As you can imagine, my intention was also to capture the shadows, which were as eye-catching as the backlit trees themselves. I did something similar with Photo 9 and Photo 10 (capturing shadows and flare), which show you what the setting sun can do apart from serving as front/side light. And if you use it as a direct front/side light, the effect may be something like that shown in Photos 4, 5, and 6. The good thing about shooting like this is that the strong light here can enable you to mark a smaller aperture, so that the sky will appear bluer, resulting in a picture with greater contrast.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 9

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 10

If you are shooting during this hour of the day, do it fast because as you know the sun goes down very quickly. What I actually did that day was follow the crowd (which can be seen again in Photos 4, 5, and 6) to the Hong Kong Stadium where the football matches played by Chelsea, Aston Villa, and some other clubs would be held (Photo 11 shows you one of the spectators at the entrance). I shot some pictures of the crowd from different angles, which were meant to show the difference between backlit and front lit pictures. As you can see, when I arrived at the entrance of the stadium, not too many people there were lit by the sun except a few (Photos 12 and 13), like this man and the security guard pointing his finger somewhere in Photo 12. But the side light here worked well to make these two people stand out from the background. In fact, the way that ambient or artificial light affects your subjects determines the quality of your photo. Here, the warm sunlight created a dramatic picture, so to speak. If these two people were not “hit” by the warm light and instead looked the same as the people in the background, the picture would be less interesting.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 11

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 12

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 13

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6 Photo 7
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Photo 8 Photo 9 Photo 10 Photo 11 Photo 12 Photo 13
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1 1