Friday, September 20, 2013

Are You a Disciple of Light?

(Click to enlarge.)
What's more important than light? Few things, if anything. Most life on this planet would not or could not exist without it. As humans, we could not exist without light. Worse yet, without light photography wouldn't exist either. Bummer!

Nearly all of humankind's earliest religions included light or the sun as an integral aspect of its beliefs. So many references and so much religious iconography involves light or the sun and the stars. Much about light has survived even to modern day religions. As humans, we intrinsically understand that light is supremely important: It lights the heavens, keeps us safe from the evils that lie in the darkness, and does so much more. As photographers, we are (or should be) disciples of light.

Light is God-like in so many ways. It's no coincidence light, as a metaphor, is often synonymous with God. As people, more so as photographers, we understand what a fantastic gift – from God or from the cosmos, whichever we choose to believe – light represents. Light provides us the raw cosmic material to do this thing we do: This fun, wonderful, challenging, entertaining, photography thing.

For photographers, light is everything. It is our God. It is both our brush and our paint. It is the altar at which we pray. Quite often, it is the one element of our work that makes our images truly shine. (Pun intended.)

Light embellishes our images like nothing else: Sometimes with subtlety and nuance, other times quite obviously and with great drama. If you're a serious photographer and you're not praying at the altar of light, you'll be hard pressed to rise above snapshot-taking status. Sure, it's important to know your camera gear – how to use it and wield it like the photo-equivalents of Samurai warriors – but knowing your gear and knowing how to use it is only part of the battle. The road to photo-Nirvana is on the path of light.

I realize I'm sounding like a zealot. I suppose I am something of a zealot when it comes to the subject of light. I spend a fair amount of time keeping up with what's new in the world of photography. I spend even more time learning how to use the tools of modern-day photography, be it gear or processing software or whatever, but in my heart and in my mind I know it's all about the light.

The above text is a very short excerpt from my eBook, "Guerrilla Glamour." If you're interested in learning more about Guerrilla Glamour, perhaps even purchasing a copy, you can do so by clicking HERE.

The model at the top is Dahlia. I snapped it late in the afternoon on a very hot day in the Mojave Desert-- El Mirage Dry Lake to be more specific. It's a natural-light art nude-- no flash or reflector.  ISO100, f/8, 125th with a Canon 17-40 f/4 L at 40mm.

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