Separating the light from the darkness
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”
In Genesis 1 we see God hovering in darkness and, in his first act of creation, forming light. God declares the light to be “Good” and then immediately separates the light from darkness. In a lot of ways, our calling as photographers is wrapped up in continuing God’s first creative work.
Photography is an art of creative expression, but it could also be said to be an art of destruction. In “capturing moments” we unavoidable let others pass away, forgotten. As children of God, our calling is to take up this burden in love for others, harnessing its power to create and destroy with skill and purposeful intention. We have the responsibility to look into the world around us, and decide where and how to draw this line of separation between light and dark, to decide what is made visible and remembered and what is not. At it’s root then, photography seeing Truth or Beauty that might be invisible to others and having the ability to make it visible. It’s about bringing something out from obscurity and giving it “being.” It’s about skillfully removing everything that isn’t essential so that the qualities that you see in whatever or whoever you are photographing are able to be seen by others.
This is why I am called to be a portrait and wedding photographer. I suppose my spiritual gift is the ability to “notice.” I don’t think that’s on any of the lists, but that’s what I’ve got. : )
In my two sessions on Saturday I’ll be expanding on the theme of “separating light from dark” and it’s practical/technical applications for portrait photography. In the first session we will talk about seeing and using natural light to create portraits that illuminate the best qualities in your subjects. We’ll discuss light quality, direction, and intensity and how those things interact when creating portraits. As we talk, we’ll walk around the ranch searching for great light and learning how to manipulate existing light with reflectors and modifiers to improve the quality of our portraits.
In the afternoon session we will focus on techniques for creatively adding light to your portraits using on and off camera speedlights, studio lights, and continuous light sources. Discussions will include info on various wireless flash triggering systems, light modifiers like umbrellas and softboxes, and camera settings to get the most out of your flashes whether it’s day or night.
For both of these sessions, I will be assuming a basic understanding of Digital SLR cameras including familiarity with shutter speed, aperture (aka f/stops), ISO speed, and manual exposure. If you aren’t completely clear on all those things don’t worry too much as there will still be plenty of good lighting info and some time for Q&A. It would be helpful to brush up beforehand though! There are lots of good tutorials across the web. Check out the “Understanding Series” at www.luminous-landscape.com. I spent many hours on that site when I should have been studying in College. : )