Finding Light in Nature

In conversations with other photographers of varying degrees of experience, it usually does not take long to get to the topic of light and lighting. To be brutally honest with myself, I struggle with it. Especially when taking my outdoor shots. Because let’s face it. You can’t just go out and readjust the Sun and I have yet to find a good effective method of reversing time in order to relive a moment.

Light can make or break a scene and for the landscape photographer the Sun is only in the same general location one time a day for maybe a week before the scene is lost. Not just lost for the year, lost forever. The Sun has its own path through the heavens, finding it in the general location can take patience beyond most tolerance. If I see a shot in nature I try my best to capture it immediately. You cannot come back to it later. If I can’t take the shot, I make notes. The time of day, the date, any angles, or oddities that make the picture work. Something made me stop and ponder the scene. There must be a reason. What was it? I try to gather the data and make a plan to return the next day on time and prepared.

The next question I ask myself is a much more difficult one for photographers not in tune with the Sun’s daily movement. I ask myself if there may be a “better” time to take the scene. If I wait later will the shadows length get more interesting? If I wake up earlier or show up on a weekend will there be less foot traffic or parked cars in the scene? I call this people clutter. It is a topic for another time but I love to take pictures of what man has constructed, not of man himself. Capturing that shot of an urban scape without people in the picture can take some serious patience and even more patience when attempting to get the lighting just right. I once took a few mediocre pictures of a castle in Ireland (Not the polish castle pictured.) seconds before and seconds after a freak miniature hails storm. The tourists vanished during the storm and I got a rare human free photo of a tourist destination in the midday Sun. It taught me a great lesson about using Mother Nature to my advantage when you are looking for that one picture and gave new meaning to the term “Storming the Castle”.

© Frui

As a photographer of landscapes and nature I know the Sun and time are one in the same. I know that fighting light is like fighting time. A lost and useless battle that is best not fought at all. So one has to adapt, and learn to take the instant opportunities that we are awarded, and find the light in Nature. Who knows, the tedious patience may pay off.

I plan on a return trip to that Irish castle this year with much upgraded skills and equipment. What are the chances of another hails storm? Slim to none I know. I can only assure you that if a miracle occurs. I will be the crazy guy standing at ready in the ice storm with my lens dialed in for the instant the clouds break.

Photo credits: Frui.

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December 17, 2013


Your right. Just difficult being as selective as I am to get the right shot and hearing from some unknown source that I didn't title the shot properly so "better luck next time". I need to reread my own blog. Specifically the portion dedicated to patience. If Dreamstime is not interested there are others that will be.

I do not disagree that the rejections will improve my skill, but I expected more success. Sure it is a new camera but it is not that different. I have 19 years of Photoshop experience and the images I submitted were only the best that I didn't need to alter at all. An untouched histogram vivid and bright in the RAW.

Who knows, maybe monitors on the computer and camera are too bright or out of calibration. The reviewer may be seeing something I am not, or there is another reason for the rejections. I don't even want to attempt to upload my videos until I get this figured out.

Thanks for the encouragement.

December 16, 2013


Don't get discouraged, we all went through that. At the end you will see an improvement in the quality of your photos and realize how much better photographer you have become thanks to these rejections.

December 16, 2013


Vilaimages I hope you are right. Feeling pretty bummed right now had my first 4 images rejected last night. I taught photography and ran the photo lab for a few years in school made a pretty good side biz back in the film days but just waited over a week to find out one of my photos was rejected because Dreamstime did not like the title I provided. Another because the subject was too specific for their liking. Over one hundred images of a green door on Deamstime but my tiled building facade was too specific. The other two... well let's just say it is too late for Christmas related backgrounds at this point anyway so I won't be resubmitting them. Completely bummed. I have 7 others pending, gotta go change some titles.

December 14, 2013


I got my girlfriend started with DT (helzupix) with the same camera. I'm sure you will begin uploading great photos soon. My advise: enjoy nature while learning to use what is available. Take the best shot with what you have without wishing for something you don't. There is no such thing as perfection, but we have Photoshop to help us get close to it! :)

Good luck and looking forward to see your work.

December 12, 2013


Using the light of the sun to your advantage certainly takes some planning, as do good moon shots. You are right on target here. I use an application called Sun Surveyor to allow me to forecast where the sun or moon will be at any given time, even days or weeks ahead. This also lets me know how to plan for shadows or avoid them. I use it more for the moon than I do the sun as I like to plan moon shots reflecting off water immediately after sunset. This happens pretty rarely, so an app like this let me be in the right place at the right time with my camera pointed toward where the moon will rise before it does so. I have yet to get the picture I am trying to get...but with patience and careful planning I intend to one day.

December 12, 2013


Thanks Babar760. I agree. I signed up a few years ago with what I thought was a really great shot taken from a pretty lousy camera. It did not meet the criteria of Dreamstime and they rejected it, basically telling me to go get better equipment. I just purchased my first mid range DSLR a Nikon D3200 on this most recent Cyber-Monday. I now have 7 images uploaded and pending approval and more on the way. The approval process currently is running over 127 hours so I wrote the blog while I wait.

No more procrastinating, I promise.

December 12, 2013


Time to stop procrastinating Jeff. You've been a member here for a few years and you have no images up! You'd be surprised at the images that people will buy. The first step is always the hardest but in the time you spent writing this blog you could have uploaded your shot of the Irish castle.

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