Lighting is a Key Ingredient

Berry Eagle 030216b copy

Lighting is a key ingredient
I see post from many photographers that will go out to shoot and either come back totally happy or totally upset. I did a post recently on the importance of knowing the limitations of your lenses and cameras. The first post was mainly about the camera and what it needs you to do to be successful. Mainly get your settings right and the focal area selected properly as well. Today adding along the same lines of technique and learning the technical side, I want to mention the importance of light. There are two types of light, bad light and good light. That’s it. Okay light is really either good or bad, usually decided on after you look at the images.
Good light can be bright or it can be diffused, it all depends on what your end goal is of course. Bad light can be bright or it can also be diffused, also depending on what your end goal is as well. If you are wanting your autofocus system to lock on and track, you need to not only select the right autofocus choice but have the right light as well. Autofocus works on contrast, without contrast it will struggle to lock onto your subject, regardless of the lens. With bad light, in this case diffused or mottled, photographing a bird whether it is moving or stationary will be very difficult if it is too dim. One thing every photographer must realize is that when using a long lens, mistakes are amplified dramatically. Slight movements become big ones, slightly out of focus becomes, very out of focus. It is critical to understand a great lens is only as good as the photographer using it. You can get some great images on occasion, but to do it consistently, you have to meet your lens half way. Great light, great technique, will result in great images.
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD lens on a Canon 7Dii, Manual Exposure, f8, ISO 800, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second, Sirui N3204X tripod and PH20 Gimbal Head, Peak Design strap, Lowepro photo backpack, processed in Lightroom CC.

7 Responses to “Lighting is a Key Ingredient”

  1. Steve Fassio Says:

    Outstanding tutorial David. Always a pleasure to read and you bring your concepts down to a level everyone can understand.

  2. Lighting is something I struggle with as a beginner. It certainly is frustrating to look at photos you thought were going to turn out great only to find that the lighting was not right at all. I continue to shoot though. It is the only way to get better. I appreciate the information! Also I recently picked up a 7D Mkii. Amazing camera. I have fallen completely in love with it but there are so many menu options haha.

    • lilybug1960 Says:

      Jesse, you are not alone. A human’s eye can see about 22 stops of light while the best digital cameras only see about 11 stops of light. So when we look at our photos, they have lots of bright areas and lots of dark areas because they are so limited. The best light tends to be early in the morning or late in the evening, but digital will allow you to shoot during the middle of the day sometimes.

      I love the 7Dii as well! I use very few things inside the menus. I use the “Q” button on the back to make the majority of adjustments I do on the camera. It has way more features than I would ever use!

      • Yeah I just need to make myself get up early enough to use the beautiful morning light haha. I make most of my adjustments from the Q button as well but I do want to understand what all that other stuff does haha. I upgraded from a T5. I was getting fed up with not being able to focus on birds in flight or any other moving subject and the 3 fps. Now I just need some better glass and more practice.

    • lilybug1960 Says:

      By the way Oshie is a great looking Golden!!!

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