Natural light

The last of the day, Murrays Bay, Auckland. Su Leslie

What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.

John Berger

Light and shade; colour and texture. Male Hamadryas baboon, Auckland Zoo. Image: Su Leslie

Hints of sunset, Muriwai beach. Image: Su Leslie

Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface.

Garry Winogrand

Back-lighting illuminates shape and detail. Image: Image: Su Leslie

The moment you take the leap of understanding to realize you are not photographing a subject but are photographing light is when you have control over the medium.

Daryl Benson

I definitely don’t feel in control, but the more photographs I take, the more I have come to understand the wisdom of the quotes above.

Back-lighting reveals colour and clarity. Image: Su Leslie

Water adds a new element and changes the quality of light: Image: Su Leslie

Water adds a new element and changes the quality of light; wet tarmac. Image: Su Leslie

Morning mist; and the world seems flat. Image: Su Leslie

Storm night. Image: Su Leslie

Morning light, hotel room, Wellington, NZ. Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

The only photographer I will compare myself to is the one I used to be.

Emma Davies

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | natural light

Shaping the image in my memory

img_6608 Waiting for rain, Highway 22, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020
“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships!” — Ansel Adams

It’s Sunday evening and we’re driving through drought-struck farmland in the north-west Waikato. Rain clouds have flirted shamelessly with the skyline all day, but the land remains parched and disappointed.

Rounding a corner, we see a distant hill quite dramatically lit by low sunshine breaking through the clouds. It’s beautiful and stark and emphasizes how dry the land has become.

T stops the car. I hop out and wade through long, brittle grass. As I’m fiddling with the camera, a police car stops to check that we’re ok and that the car hasn’t broken down on this very quiet stretch of road. T assures him we’re fine and I wave my camera ineffectually to establish my bona fide. He nods and zooms off — possibly a tad faster than might be strictly legal. But I suppose there have to be some compensations for patrolling country roads on a Sunday night.

When we finally get home (after quite a few more photo stops), I download the images. “Cop-stop hill” is too dark and doesn’t have the contrast I remember, but the bones of the shot are good and all the pixels I need are there, just waiting to be tweaked.

Thank goodness for PhotoShop.

And for Debbie at Travel with Intent, whose weekly quote challenge gave me the perfect excuse to tell you the story of this image.

Note to self …

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” –– Tecumseh

And perhaps more importantly I guess, is giving thanks that I have those things to be thankful for.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | light

“But soft! What light …”


Early morning, Luckens Reserve, West Harbour, Auckland, NZ. Su Leslie 2018

Early morning mists create wonderful soft light and I’m lucky to live in an area that still has some tall trees to silhouette against the lightening sky.

The post title comes from the famous balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet. Though of course, Romeo was using “soft” as an exclamation, and was certainly more interested in wooing Juliet than any quality of the light around them.

Lens Artist Photo Challenge | soft