Upload & Sell: On
| p.1 #6 · what's this about sunlight being harsh? it often comes out soft to me |
You mention loving to bathe subjects in sunlight, but understand as Brian mentions the time of day is very significant regarding sunlight. But also, there is usually a terminology difference between "sunlight" vs. "open shade". Both are ambient in nature and are derived from the sun, but the two are very different in "quality" @ harsh (specular) vs. soft (diffuse) as well as color temp and intensity.
In the last image in particular you are using a combination of side lighting and open shade as illumination from the indirect overhead sky lighting (fill) and lighting from the "direct" sun (key) that is raking across your subject. The remainder of the image is being "filled" by the indirect ambient that is coming from the overhead sky. The "blue hair" in the first one is a dead give away, as well as the magenta tones where the direct & indirect temps feather/blend somewhat. The partial cyanic sclera in the last one also gives it away as you have your subject looking away from the direct sunlight.
Here (imo) is the greatest value of using (underpowered) fill flash ... to bridge the gap between color temp of direct vs. indirect ambient/sun. Personally, I'm not a big fan of blue hair or cyanic eyes. I understand your point @ poorly used fill flash, but using the examples of poor technique of others as a reason for avoiding application of a helpful/good technique might be a bit folly.
So, while you suggest that you are "bathing" your subject in sunlight (and you are), you are using much more indirect sunlight (i.e. soft) than you might be giving credit to. Take note of the building in the background of the second image. The two sides of the building are in very different light and it is easy to see that one side is in direct sunlight and the other side is in "open shade". Now compare the illumination of the building with the illumination of your subject and you'll see a similar mixture of subject illumination using open shade.
Yes, sunlight can be both very specular and it can be very diffuse whether coming directly from the sun, or via the overhead sky. When the sun is more directly overhead, it's specularity (and color) become more homogenized with the overhead sky, yet is largely overpowering its more diffuse counterpart. As the time of day (and angle of the direct sunlight) changes to late afternoon or early morning, the separation of the warmer, direct sunlight from the cooler, indirect overhead sky becomes greater.
Understanding how the two play with each other as the time of day progresses is good stuff. As Brian mentioned, in the mid-day hours, the two act more as "one" and as such is dominated more by the specularity of the direct sunlight. In this regard, the diffuse fill characteristic of the overhead sky is rendered ineffective, so there is no "soft fill". But, shoot at a later time when you can get angular separation between the direct sunlight from the overhead sky and you have opportunity for having "soft" ambient fill.
Kudos to finding light that you like to shoot in ... but understand that the degree of specularity and diffusion varies throughout the changing day as the two are either more aligned, or more greatly separated. Take a look at your pics again and I think you'll see just how much indirect "soft light" (albeit still ambient derived from the sun) you are using to complementary "bathe" your subject in rather than direct sunlight only.
If you compare your subject to the background areas, it is easy to see that your subject is not fully in the direct light of the sun. In that regard, it might be a bit of a misnomer to say you are bathing your subject in sunlight (usually considered as "direct" sunlight), while absolutely true that sunlight was the only source ... but it comes in two forms.
I think that when most people are talking about the challenges of sunlight and use of fill regarding the "harshness" of sunlight ... the are usually talking about when they are using sunlight in its more dominant specular variety rather than at those times when the specularity and diffuse nature are more equitably present to provide its own naturally softer fill as the means for achieving aesthetically appealing contrast levels.
Again, kudos for finding usage of ambient lighting that appeals to your aesthetic ... but you just might want to consider developing good fill flash as something to add to your arsenal rather than dismiss it based on others who haven't developed good technique with it.
Edited on Aug 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM · View previous versions