What is Light First Photography? Well, what if you searched for your lighting first? What if you don’t give a lot of thought to finding a perfect subject or composition? You just look for awesome light, then you shoot the light in a way that makes the light become your subject? That is what I did this past Sunday walking through a local forest. I’m not sure that it was all that intentional. I didn’t set out to shoot light as the subject, but I did become aware that I was noticing spots in the woods where the light was breaking through the trees in very interesting ways.
It had been rainy and was still quite cloudy. The clouds were moving fast so I could just stand still and the light would change all around me pretty quickly which was nice and frustrating at the same time. I would see something cool, and get focused on it, just to have a cloud come over and ruin my light. But I became so aware how the light was creating little stages around me. A show here. A different show there.
The front light made this patch of grass light up as if the light was coming from the plant. I like the contrast with the dark shadows.
This was interesting because everything I could see was in shade except for these fallen trees. The canopy directly above the trees was gone, and the clouds opened just enough to light up this area. I think it looks like a spotlight lighting a stage.
These little mushrooms might not belong in this theme. They weren’t lit up dramatically, but I liked them. I almost got run over by a trail runner while I squatted down to get this photograph.
After being on a dark trail for a couple hours, this was near the end and the woods opened up quite a bit. I think this was the first place Ion the trail that had lush greenery like this.
So here is your assignment, if you choose to accept it: Rather than going out and looking for cool things to take pictures of, go out and look for cool lighting situations and try to make a picture out of that. See if you can compose a picture where the light is already dramatic. Partly cloudy days in the woods are a good combination, but I feel like you could apply this anytime and anywhere. Light first photography.