It’s about the light

Sometimes I get so involved in the technical stuff of photography I forget the impact that small technical changes have on what the picture says.

Yesterday I posted the second of a series of pictures of my kitchen. The pictures were taken only a few seconds apart. The difference between them is the light.

The first picture (below) isn’t about the kitchen. It’s about the window. What’s going on outside. It’s about the trees. Flowers. Everyone who commented on it mentioned how nice it was to have a window so you could look out while you work.


To capture the image, I took the light reading directly on the window, which darkened the foreground and made the window and trees outside the important features of the shot.

Morning AgainThe second picture (above) is about the kitchen. The window is just a solid, bright light, as if there is nothing outside but light. The picture is about interior — not exterior — space. Comments reflected this, talking about the kitchen, its old-fashioned coziness. No one even mentioned the window.

For this shot, I took my reading on the dark wood cabinets. It made the kitchen bright and eliminated all detail through the window.

I use spot metering almost exclusively. It gives me control of my metering. I get dependable results. I know exactly what I’m reading. No guessing. With “center-weighted” I’m never sure how much is weighted to the center, or where the camera’s light meter is taking its reading.

I use prime lenses rather than telephotos for similar reason. I like the consistent depth of field and aperture from primes. There’s a trade-off, of course. Primes aren’t versatile. When I’m in a rapidly changing environment, a telephoto is better.

Choosing to read the window instead of the cabinets gave me two pictures that tell different stories.

As usual, it’s about the light.

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Categories: #Photography, Cameras, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Spot meter? Light meter? Light contrast? Where are those apps on the phone?


    • Apparently yes, these days. NO one younger than me ever used a handheld meter and no one remembers that cameras didn’t always have built-in meters.

      On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM, SERENDIPITY


  2. Excellent piece on metering. Thanks for the pingback!


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