Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Natural Light

This week our theme host asks us to feature images using Natural Light. Amy uses the following quote from the well-known photographer, Annie Leibovitz, to introduce the challenge theme. “Natural light photography uses the sun as a light source. The available light from the sun varies with the time of day. A sunny day provides full illumination, while an overcast day may afford texture and nuance to a photographer.”  You can read Amy’s entire challenge post here.

For my opening photo, I feature an image captured in the early morning light over the Atlantic Ocean from a beach on one of the Outer Bank Islands of North Carolina. Regular readers of my journal may recall in last week’s challenge, another image captured from this same beach for that challenge, “Soft”. That morning, the sun’s light, partially obscured by clouds in the distance added a softness to those beautiful “golden hour” tones.

On the beach in Mazatlán, Mexico, the “gringo tourist” area is known as the Golden Zone, Zona Dorada, no doubt in reference to the tourist dinero. There are plenty of street vendors vying for the tourist dollar walking the beach looking for customers. At the end of the day, these two vendors were in deep conversation.

You can find interesting natural light in the middle of the day as well. The example above was captured from a cruise ship on the Inland Passage route to Alaska. After a storm broke, the clouds began to dissipate leaving openings for the sun to break through and light the surface of the ocean. I opted to convert the image to black-and-white as it definitely added to the drama of the moment.

On the northwest coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, an area of significant and rugged beauty is known as the Na Pali Coast. On a dinner cruise, we approached the coastline in the late afternoon. A small rain squall had just passed ahead of us and proceeded directly toward the island. As we got closer, the squall had moved on leaving low clouds and fog in its wake. The late afternoon sun shining through the mist brought a rainbow forth for the pleasure of the many photographers on the ship.

At Breezy Point Resort near Brainerd, Minnesota, I was up early one morning to capture the sunrise. Standing on the dock in the shadow of the hotel building, I noticed those sunrise golden-hour tones illuminating the trees near the shore.

When the skies are overcast, that natural light is softest, especially during the mid-day hours. In my daughter’s front yard, an allium plant was in bloom with its interesting flowers. The soft light coupled with a de-focused background and a touch of added vignette brought out the delicate nature of this beautiful plant.

Thanks to Amy for another opportunity to share some of my favorite photos. As I have too often said, feel free to click on an image for a closer view. Most browsers support that function.

John Steiner

23 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Natural Light

    • I was thinking about buying a flash unit and a photographer friend of mine offered me a long-term loan of his unit. I played with it for awhile and returned it. He saved me a bundle of money. >grin<

  1. I’m with you re the flash John – clearly you have mastered the use of natural light. Your dramatic sun’s rays are especially beautiful as is the NaPali coast image. I was curious about what caused the light in the bottom center of that image. I clicked on it but still couldn’t tell. Do you know?

  2. Beautiful natural light selections, John. I love the softness of the opening image and the composition. After a storm broke is truly magical, so is the sky and rainbow of the Na Pali Coast. The golden-hour tone image is breathtaking and the de-focused background of the last photo, perfect!
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Pingback: #LAPC #138: Natural Light in California and Arizona – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

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