Hands on learning- an exercise in light

Hi friends,

I put up last Friday’s “Photo post” with a link called ” Photo Workout: Flex Your Photographic Skills “. If you are new to my blog, I can tell you that every Friday, I post a new link to a Photography website. Sometimes, to learn tips and techniques, other times just to admire cool Photography. This link is on the top right hand sidebar.

This week’s link has five exercises to help you work your Photography basics. I choose the exercise  to work with light.

Here is the individual exercise as taken from the above web page:


Workout 1: Light Awareness
Light is critical to photography. Without light, you can’t take pictures. One of the keys to becoming a better photographer is to “see” the light. Often, a photographer sees the subject, but not the light. Certainly, the subject is important, but if the subject overpowers your mind as you’re taking the picture, you might not see the light. The camera only sees the light and emphasizes that light, even if it’s not flattering for the subject. This exercise will help you learn to find interesting light.

Exercise: See The Light
What You Need: A camera and a zoom lens, preferably one that goes from wide to at least moderate telephoto. Do this exercise in any convenient setting, but be there at a time of day when the light is low.

What To Do: Get out and photograph light. Don’t look for a subject. Don’t look for interesting scenes. Find interesting light. Make a series of photographs, at least 20 to 30, where every picture is about the light. Look for spots of light, colored light, edge light, light contrasting with shadow, shadows (shadows are as much a part of light as the light itself)—anything that shows remarkable light.

Review: Look at the light and what it does in your photographs. See how the light can be interesting in and of itself. Look at how light and shadow are interacting throughout the image. Notice how your eye moves around the photograph, looking at the light and contrast.


Here’s what I did…  All are published w/o  editing “as is”.

The city scenes were taken in Paris’ Chinatown & the others at our home. Excuse the tech details if you are just here for the viewing!


1/200 sec, F 10.

I don’t have the ISO for any of these recorded with the info for each photo. Strange… Except for the last photo, I think I did  nearly all at 200 ISO…


1/200 sec, F 8.


1/200 sec, F 10.


1/200 F10.


1/200, F 5.6.


1/200 sec, F 9.


1/200 sec, F 10.


1/250 sec, F 9.


1/250 sec, F9.


1/10 sec, F 5.6.

This was a fun and thoughtful exercise! I found other exercises online and will gladly try another one in the near future.

Have fun and be well!


10 thoughts on “Hands on learning- an exercise in light

  1. Hi Bijoux,
    Yes, this was a very fun experience but it is very challenging to track light outdoors in winter! Paris has a large Chinatown in the 13th “arrondissement”( like a district) in the Southern part of town. I have never seen an Italian quartier but I could be wrong; Paris is huge!
    Cheers!! 🙂

    1. Hi Zhu,
      Yes, I certainly do have a “one track mind” hehe :). Thank you! I tell myself that when the end of 2013 comes, I will have learned so much in photography.

  2. Barb, I am so diggin’ this post because lately I’ve been observing light myself (especially nighttime light) and am enjoying the challenge of using various settings on my point and shoot camera; fiddling around. Also shadows and highlights.

    Great photos! Especially enjoyed the tree branches, the green leafy shot, and the candlelight (it’s gorgeous!). I took a few photos last week of the burning candle and it was such a challenge to adjust the light settings. I think I got ONE good shot out the of dozen.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, my friend. Through your process of learning, I am too 🙂

    (((((( You ))))))
    X to you and D!

    1. Hi there Ronnie,
      Thank you hon! It has been fun and challenging to do a “quest for light” in winter. On some days, I had so little light outdoors.
      Photographing a candle was an experience. Already, indoor light is tricky, and add the flame and that spells a challenge! Yay; you made it, too!!
      I am very humbled if you can learn along with me and other readers. Lets have fun with the experiences!! I will do others throughout this year.

      Big hugs to ya xox

  3. Oh wow…….when you wrote about looking for the light, that’s what I found myself doing with the photos. That first one–definitely a keeper! *laughing* We condition ourselves on what to look for–and I would have entirely missed that one if it were me behind the lens.
    I’ve tried the candle one–did you SEE it on the web log? LOL Nope! Maybe I’ll get brave and try again at some point. I end up with grainy every time. But I don’t fool around with settings……yet….. *laughing* I’m afraid if I do, sure as heck I’ll never take another photo I’m pleased about. Oy….call me a big chicken. I understand there’s a ‘restore to default settings’ on the camera but I’ll be dogged if I know where.

    And how long have you had this camera, you ask? Oh…..just several years! LOL

    Chicken, chicken, chicken!! :-/
    *making clucking noises!* LOL BIG chicken!

  4. Hi Mel,
    How are ya? You are so right to say tht there is some “conditioning” going on as to what we shoot. Look for the photogenic scene, we say, whilst all the time it is just a quiet little haven that is most likely just as attractive;
    I honestly know that no effort is vain. It is all trying and learning… I still fall on my butt, get a photo that looks very white, or I rush and get blur(which sometimes can be interesting, other times, blah).
    You may want to read a lot of ideas online to try a little later because you got some big ongoing challenges right now.

  5. Hi Babara .. thanks for the lesson 🙂 .. I love the photos of the Grasses with light and the candle … I will keep trying 🙂 .. take care hugs Anne

  6. Hi Anne,
    You are so welcome, hon. I love it when there are fun ways to learn! Wherever I can find interesting exercises, I will share some here.
    You keep on trying and enjoying it all xoxo

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