TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSES 2B – A TECHNICAL APPROACH TO CAPTURING – RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPES

Aims and Objectives of Approach:

My aims and objectives of this body of work is to promote the landscape through the visual image. I will achieve this by:

  1. Creating a portfolio of work that highlights my impressions of worship
  2. Deciding whether or not to palpably capture the pace of the city the religious building represents and if there would be a trade-off to make this decision. And do I want to capture my images in this way or will they all be solely from my perspective?
  3. Identifying that there are similarities in architecture and archaeology in the region but that there are also ways to distinguish each church that makes them appealing to the investigator and audience.
  4. My overall intention is not to present the obvious but to get an in depth perspective which reveals meaning and tells a story.
  5. Working at the post-production stage, some subtleties will be revealed that focus on different aspects of religion.
  6. A focus on illumination and light will be present in my images.
  7. Through my very detailed research the images captured will be determined by the research prior to the photography being taken.
  8. An instructive methodological approach to my work will allow me to tell a story.
  9. Consideration will be given to produce some art work to accompany the series of photographs designed around the imagery they represent for a book I plan to write and for my future planned exhibitions.
  10. This is a lifelong project that I will continue with focusing on developing research and representing the building in its historic and postmodern setting which will describe how the image will come together with my research findings.
  11. A planned technical approach to capturing the light which I firmly believe is literally ”the heart” of photography

Capturing the Light:

According to Freeman’s book (2013) regarding ‘capturing the light – the heart of photography’ use of several different approaches to lighting (and by lighting I mean utilising natural light) then each different approach is as exciting as the other.  In my photographic aesthetic my premise as a photographer is to use as much natural light as possible and study each lighting perspective so that I understand it more and as a consequence, I can apply it to my photography. I have therefore applied the use of:

Raking Light:

involves precision timing – it reveals texture and the shape of the shadow enhancing lines, dark points and highlights. Cathedrals and churches can be photographed effectively if you use this and the other principles listed here as the shadows on the walls, the intricate carvings and shadows become graphic additions that according to Freeman can and do ”breathe life into a wall.”  Light coming in from the side additionally, can exaggerate things visually in comparison to what they would look like in flatter lighting creating a kind of illusion to give the object you are photographing an ethereal or other world effect. (See Bradford Cathedral photographs of the altar steps and choir stalls as examples)

Reflective Light:

is relatively easy to understand, using the sun to light up and object and bounce additional light off the subject can change the perspective of a drawing, painting or photograph. The light travels at a direct angle on the canvas and everything under the line is in shadow and everything above it is in light, if you apply this principle when taking photographs the reflective light method can be used to considerable advantage and is easy to see once you get used to it. Additionally sun reflects off other surfaces so when I take photographs (especially of churches) I like to use additional reflective surfaces if necessary to create an extra source of light.

Directional light with soft shadows, Multiple, Golden Hour, Dappled Light, Patterned:

windows are an excellent source of directional light and the cathedral or church can act like a giant softbox. When considering using this approach to lighting I am careful to contol the light source with slight alterations to shutter speed which softens the light. I prefer to visit the area I am photographing on several separate occasions as the light is prone to change with incredible speed from moment to moment so when photographing artefacts especially when they cannot be moved I have to have the patience to wait for when the moment is just right. Projected ripples across the floor of the cathedral are difficult to capture as they need to be frozen in time. Light variations means that you need to shoot the light in quick succession to get the best result as the light play varies.

Axial Lighting, Backlit, Beam and Caustics:

The basic situation for axial lighting is when you have an enclosed space with no other lighting coming through except from a doorway behind you. The shadows that are present fall around the object of interest in your line of sight you might consider ring flash in this situation as the projected shadows could add to the composition either that or take the photograph from one corner to compensate for the shadow effect making it appear less concentrated facing on to the composition in this case will create an illusion perhaps making it appear out of proportion. You can use this methodology to effect if you want to make an object appear larger than life or if you want to exaggerate the light and shadow across the object. light beams can literally seem as if they are carving there way through the atmosphere like a halo effect. Sometimes waiting for a figure to walk into the pool of light beam photography creates makes for an additionally interesting composition. In the case of photographing Bradford Cathedral, I used the church pews as a concentration of light beam and a lecturn stand.

There is a special kind of concentration of light that creates curved shapes with cusps and often spectral colours, photographing a prism or crystal or in the case of the cathedral recently a shaft of light literally refracted and bounced into the cathedral sending out prisms of light.. These complex and intense curves which are intersections of light according to Freeman (164-165:2013) is named after the greek word for burnt. It is where light clashes against each other to such a degree that it creates a rainbow or even fire. Capturing images like this never cease to amaze me and can create some interesting aesthetic results.

Conclusion:

There are many different approaches to capturing natural lighting and learning these techniques and applying them to my work will enable me to become a more successful photographer especially in my chosen area of the landscape and the spiritual. Suffused light is the most subtle the results of which can be fascinating when it happens naturally. When photographing stained glass windows the colours and controlling the light and waiting for the right moment is time consuming but I love the effect of tinted light falling on part of the scene. Often unexpected colour casts can be the most vivid giving the impression of the surreal and ethereal. It is to this effect that I will be working towards achieving using all the technical principles of light control I can manage to produce the best quality and different images.

For an indepth article researching into the effect of light and looking at the different technical approaches please refer to my research folder.

 

 

 

 

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