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Chapter 4 Assignments

Noticing a change in light is a learned skill. Over the course of my career, I have come to think in terms of exposure—quality first and then quantity. When I walk outside and see gorgeous light, I want to find something to photograph; it’s always my initial reaction and it’s a labor of love. Usually, the light becomes such an important part of the content that I can photograph almost anything and be happy.

When I have to make a photo because the assignment or situation calls for that, I take a different approach. I analyze the situation and decide how to use the light to enhance the content I have to use.

The following exercises will help you think in terms of exposure, making the transition from observer to photographer more seamless. Remember that there is no right or wrong exposure, just the exposure you want to make.

Shooting at Different Times of Day

Find an object—a silver garbage can or mailbox, for example. Put it in a location where it won’t be disturbed or be in anyone’s way. Photograph it using the same lens from the same angle at noon, at 3:00 p.m., and 30 minutes before sunset. Compare the shadows, the tones, and the textures created by the light. Notice how the light changes the mood of the photograph.

Shooting at Different Angles

Go to a high school football or baseball field. Shoot a person standing 15 yards from the sideline. Then climb to the top of the stands and shoot the same person from as high an angle as you can. Compare the shadows, the tones, and the textures created by the light. Decide how you can use the angle to your benefit to take advantage of different lighting conditions.

Changing Your Perspective

Find a football game. Shoot half of the game from the end zones and half of the game from the sidelines. Notice how changing your position on the field gives you not only an altered perspective, but also significantly different opportunities to make photographs. Take note of what you capture where and when.

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