Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Magical Light

Yelapa, Mexico.

This week Amy suggests that we share images focusing on the topic “Magical Light”. A photographer strives to know light and to be available at the best time for a given outdoor subject. Given what he or she knows about lighting conditions and their ability to change moment by moment throughout the day, being in the right place at the right time can capture that magic. You can read Amy’s challenge post here. The photo above, for example, features a fisherman on his way home with his catch as the day begins its journey into night, or does it? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. That’s the image I saw in my mind, but what happens when there is no fisherman arriving home late in the day? What if my visit to the location is only during the day? From where then is to appear this magical light? What can I do as a photographer to make my vision happen?

I can use a trick long known to motion picture photographers from the earliest days of Hollywood ‘B-movies’, stars not under contract to work at night? Shoot during the day and reduce the exposure. That’s what I did for this shot of someone heading back to shore. Yelapa is a stop on a cruise excursion. It’s only accessible by boat having no roads leading to the village. Posted below is the photo I started with, cropped and prepped. Obviously, it was captured at mid-day, a time when available light is probably the least magical.

I didn’t actually shoot the image at a reduced exposure, I adjusted it in post using Lightroom and Nik’s Silver Efex 2. It’s always fun to tweak the challenge theme a bit. In this case, even when the light isn’t “magical” in the sense we want it to be, our powerful digital processing tools can help to create that magic.

John Steiner


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