May 20, 2007

Light and Shadows

Here’s something I’ve been trying to work out for a long time, as a photographer. Is it better to take pictures on a sunny day, or on an overcast day? Take a look at Exhibits A and B here:

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The same subject, taken on two different days. In the first one, the sun is shining and where the colors pop, they really pop. But the shadows are kind of hidden, and all over there’s almost too much contrast in the picture. The second one is on an overcast day, and all the colors are more muted and more even. The contrast is spread out here, so you don’t have the really dazzling whites washing everything out. It’s a more relaxing photo with softer edges. But at the same time you don’t have the green in the trees popping out at you, you don’t have the blue skies to set everything off.

So which is better? Would the first one be better framed, hanging on a wall, because of how crisp the colors are? Would the second one be better to put in an architecture book, because you’re better able to see the details on the house? Is there a right answer here?

Here’s another angle to give you more to think about.

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I don’t have an answer here. I want to hear some.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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  1. A reader says:

    I’ve learned that “open shade” is best for photo-taking. (I took several photo classes in college, but am not an expert.)
    I’d say it also depends on what you are trying to capture (the house? the scenery?) and the mood you are trying to create. Plus, if you’re taking photos of people, you definitely don’t want the shadows from bright sunlight.
    As for your photos, I prefer those shot on an overcast day, although I do miss that blue sky!

    Posted May 21, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

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