The Direction of Light – From Above!
A very long time ago, I was told that once the subject or we leave the ground, the rules of light change. That’s because the physical relationship, the angles of sun, subject and camera change. It’s why you can photograph a bird or plane in flight have less contrast when shot the same time of day as a subject on mother earth. It’s really a mind boggling concept when you start thinking about it. Move the subject up towards the sun and the contrast lessons. This is not to say there is no contrast issues, just lesser. Now when you head up and shoot back down towards earth, on man, the possibilities are endless and your time to make magic seemingly forever.
Even with that being true, just being up doesn’t mean you can do no wrong. The play of light on the landscape still is what brings drama to the photograph. Flying up to Oshkosh last week, we played dodgeball with thunderstorms. Our pilots did an expert job of it making for some amazing photo opps. In the top photo you can see the effect of the God Beams painting light down below. The bottom photo is the one I like the best thought. The combination of the 206’s wing, down pour top center, low puffies in the lower left and the light break the whole experience together in a single click. I realize this is not everyone’s cup of tea, from being in a small aircraft at 8000′ to shooting aerials. But it’s another form of light many don’t think about nor take advantage of. It’s all part of photography, waiting to be experienced and then if it works for your style, to be embraced.
Photos captured by D3x, 16Fish on Lexar UDMA digital film