Finding Good Light

Photography has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes good light finds you.  Once a photographer spots a scene where the light is dramatic and or beautiful, he or she will usually stop whatever they’re doing and capitalize on that light. This past Tuesday after work, we were taking Suki to the park to meet a fellow photographer buddy of mine. We parked, got out of the car, I saw the scene you see above.

The sunlight was low and golden in color. How could I NOT get the camera out? So we brought Suki to the grassy area and started firing away:

You’d be surprised how often Suki gets tangled up like this. When she’s on the retractable, bounding around, she often wraps around me a few times with the tether, a lot like the Battle of Hoth of in Empire Strikes Back. Little rebel!

Having the light cast over Suki from behind caused a beautiful rim light around her fur, and gave me an opportunity to add in some flash to control the entire exposure:

The background was pretty busy, with people, other dogs, and buildings cluttering up the frame. So I used a long focal length to make it all disappear.

I chose this image here for week 39 of my 52 week project. These are all JPEGs straight from the camera, which was an accident since I usually shoot RAW. Didn’t realize this until I got home and uploaded the images. Good thing I took the time to get everything right at the camera! I think it’s best to solve any problems with a photographic solution anyway, rather than always resorting to “fixing” exposure or color issues in post. Of course, whatever your workflow looks like, what matters is the final image, right?


Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR

14 thoughts on “Finding Good Light

  1. LOVE the glow around Suki in the 3rd shot, and how it is almost dark enough in the background to make the flexi disappear.

  2. Love those middle pictures. The fur/bugs/pollen? floating in the atmosphere there make it seem dreamy, like fireflies.

    Oooh, I can’t wait to get a working memory card. My shutter finger is gettin itchy!

  3. perfecto Jon… luv the rim light and your fill is spot on – just curious, what’s the exif on the last image – i’m assuming u zoomed in at ~300 and opened up as much as you could with the 70-300 @ 4.5; but i’m more interested in the power output of the flash (coming from the camera right)— really luv how u balanced out the ambient – perfect, and i mean it (especially in jpg)!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind comments everyone! Much appreciated! And yes, those are bugs that she riled up from running around in the grass =)


      The exif goes: 300mm f/7.1, 1/250 at ISO200, Program: Manual

      Flash is a remote commanded SB-900, TTL metering with a +0.7EV bias (notice that two images up, Suki is a little underexposed and isn’t being lifted from the background as much as I wanted. In that shot, the flash is +0.3EV). As such, I don’t know what the exact power output was. Keeping the camera at max sync speed ensured that I could get maximum power dump from the flash while helping me wrangle down the ambient, which was about 2 stops underexposed at f/7.1.

      So what you see here is the camera and flash doing most of the work for me as far as exposure on Suki. I just nudged it a little in the right direction =)

  4. I had seen your photos on flickr before, and absolutely loved your shots of Suki. I have a Shiba Inu, too, and I think they are such beautiful animals! Therefore, a great subject to take photos of. ; )

    I think I’m going to have to start reading your blog. A shiba, great photography, and you can tell you really know your stuff, so what’s not to love? What really hooked me was the Star Wars reference, though. I laughed out loud. And I have to say I’ve had that same experience! hehehe.

    1. Haha thanks for your kind comment. Every time Suki starts coiling the line around me I shout “rebel scum!” or “one more passsss…..” lol

      Thanks for visiting my blog! =)

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