The importance of light
Lighting is everything in photography. It matters not if we are talking about the kind of work I do in travel or be it any other form of the craft. Wedding photographers have to deal with tricky mixed light situations, studio photographers are masters of controlling all the light that hits their subject, wildlife shooters have the best of luck when the light is soft at sunrise and sunset, architectural interior photographers have to be meticulous with accent lighting, and even pure news photojournalists get the best results when the lighting offers them the opportunity to make a scene tell a better story.
As for me… My job is a lot about hurry up and wait for the best light to show up and it is all at the mercy of Mother Nature. I can revisit a place many times and I do that often with the photo tours I run all over the world but that doesn’t mean that I’m seeing the same scene again, just the same place but under different circumstances and lighting, of course.
“There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” ― Leonard Cohen
Some places look stunning in the daytime with a beautiful sunrise or sunset light bathing the scene in a warm comforting glow. Other locations truly shine long after the sun has set and the magic of the contrast between light and dark plays out in front of my very eyes in their eternal battle for dominance. And then there are places like this magical spot in Lofoten in Norway that just have a tendency to shine no matter the time of day.
There is an ethereal quality to the light this far above the Arctic circle. In February, when I run my annual Norway photo tour, the sun remains closer to the horizon all day long and that provides us, intrepid photographers, the opportunity to get wonderful soft light all day long which of course improves our chances of taking better photos.
When darkness falls
“When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun.” ― William Shakespeare
I love the way this scene looks incredible in both day and night time settings. I find that these locations are rare and that there will usually be one time of day where the place truly shines for photography purposes but in this case, I’m not even going to debate it. I’ll just sit back and enjoy both types of lighting with a grin on my face, knowing that I’ll be back there next February with another lucky group of photographers on my next Lofoten photo tour.
One of the coolest things about this particular photo is the fact that those red cabins are actually our hotel rooms while we are in Norway. The old red beautifully refitted fisherman’s cabins are the perfect setting not just for photography purposes but also for relaxing and some serious fine dining prepared by our local chef.
Whether you prefer the light or dark isn’t the point. To me, it is all about exploring the different opportunities that offer the photographer another chance to capture the essence of a place, enveloped in varying luminescence.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ― Og Mandino