Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 11/05/2011

Mellow Yellow


Another quick photo session around the garden this evening, watermark added and uploaded to Flickr, that’s the beauty of the digital age.

I finally managed to use the studio box light cube I bought off ebay to help to isolate subjects to good effect. With strong evening sunlight, I took the cube out into the back garden and cleared a space on a garden table (that has our strawberry pots on) for this large nylon collapsible cube. Putting the back of the box to the sun, I set my camera on a tripod, fitted my flashgun to the camera and took a meter reading from the whole of the scene. Without the fill in flash this back lit flower would have appeared too dark; I’ve often mentioned that when taking photos outside you should ensure that the key light source (the sun) is over one of your shoulders (not literally, obviously, that would be rather warm and just a little uncomfortable), so does that mean Dear Reader, that all this time I’ve been lying to you?

Oh the shame, yes.. I admit it… it’s all been lies.. lies lies and more damned lies! Pull yourself together boy.. right… where were we? Oh yes, lies.. generally it IS preferable to have the sun illuminating your subject, but it can also be used as a back light, albeit a very strong one. This helps to produce a nice crisp edge around the subject, and whilst I could have achieved this by using the flash to provide the back light, it was easier in the confined space to just use the sun.

Ensuring the subject is backlit as well as lit from either the front, side, top or all three is more often used with portraiture photography but as I’ve mentioned before, despite there being a number of accepted rules to photography, the last of these rules states that there are no real rules. As Churchill once said “it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma“, with a bit of paradox thrown in for good measure!

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