Ashok Saravanan wakes up early in the morning, to set out and look for the perfect light and its magic on Mother Earth.
- Description: To capture the magic of light in nature
- Duration: An ongoing project
- Notes: Since natural light and its drama are important for an assignment like this, morning (6–8am) and evening (4–6pm) are the perfect times to do some good photography.
There is something about photography in the morning light that appeals to me. It passes through dense trees or leaves in such a way that it always compels me to pick up my camera and start shooting.
A small source of light behind any object can give different kinds of effects, identified by different names like backlight, rim light and contour light. I prefer to shoot leaves and flowers in this kind of lighting, as each of the effects that emerge can be very dramatic.
I have always been inspired by nature. But photography taught me to look at the world in different ways. In fact, I feel as though I have acquired a new pair of eyes. I see beauty in things I have never noticed before. Light and colours that I did not know existed appear to be more prominent and striking. But backlighting is what interests me the most. The character it brings out in my nature subjects is beautiful; and this is what I have tried to capture in my photographs.
I try to wake up early, so that I can reach the place and plan my shots even before the sun rises. The first step is to search for the right kind of backlighting. Once I find the right light, I compose my frame till it appears perfect to me. I always try to get a good composition. I believe it is the one thing that gives strength to an image. Then I look for the right colours. Any light behind a subject makes it glow—and this often gives me an entire range of tones.
Photographs shot in backlighting require a basic understanding of time, exposure and equipment. Since it is not always possible for one to be very close to the main subject, I generally prefer to shoot with a telephoto lens.
I also usually shoot in RAW, because it then becomes possible to enhance my images faster and in a better way. However, in this case, the subject and light are the main elements, and not what can be achieved by processing or which file format the images are shot in.
Once I begin to see the magical rays light up the sky and work its magic, it becomes very easy to identify the frames I want. However, the glow effect can be achieved at sunset too. All one needs is the eye to see a potential picture, and capture it for maximum drama!
My Equipment: Equipment does not really matter. Creativity comes first, then framing and colours—all of which make 80% of an image. I used a Nikon D40 with a Nikkor 55–200mm VR lens.
To Achieve Good Backlit Shots in Nature
- Be an Early Bird: Morning light is the best time to shoot. Remember to work with just natural light.
- Compose to Perfection: With subjects like these, you have enough time to frame the subject. Try many different compositions.
- Look for Dark Backgrounds: The effect of backlighting is maximised when a subject is shot against a slightly dark background.
- Shoot in RAW: The advantage of shooting RAW is that it allows a greater degree of adjustment to the exposure and contrast.
Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/ayashok-s_d40/sets/ to see more of Ashok’s stunning photography.