When you read or hear the expression, “Photography is all about light,” you clearly understand the definition of each word; however, the true meaning from a photography perspective can be elusive. It takes time to fully grasp.
I clearly remember my first true photography experiment that accelerated my understanding of the basics of photography in regard to light.
It was a family camping trip. We had our campsite set on the beach of a small lake nestled in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal. I had plenty of time to experiment with my new Canon Digital Rebel. I set the camera on a tripod and took one picture every hour without changing the camera’s position or settings.
I took a total of 17 shots.
Back home, I transferred the photos to my computer and started analyzing them in Photoshop (Lightroom did not yet exist). I was completely astonished by the results of my seemingly simple experiment. Depending on the time of day, the location was completely unrecognizable. Any photo taken during the middle of the day looked washed out and quite boring. On the other hand, the photos taken during sunset and sunrise looked vibrant and full of energy.
This is when I realized that photography is defined by the quality of light and, contrary to common belief, that location is the secondary component of the equation.