What is artificial light?
“Artificial Light is any light that comes from a man-made light source, so it can come from dedicated photo floods, everyday household lamps, overhead fluorescent lights. Artificial light is usually tungsten-balanced, but special photographic lamps are available to produce the cooler, blue light of sunlight.”(1)
Can other sources give us artificial light? If we take a prism and split the Suns light into its different colours is this artificial. I dont know but it is certainly altered light. If you bounce sunlight off a gold reflector is this artificial it has certainly changed.
We use light to create ambience in our buildings. Warm glows to our homes. To flooded rooms of light to display exhibits In a museum and sports grounds that become the stadium of light.
Brassai said about his work in the book “Paris after Dark”(2). “Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbes and surprises us with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.”
His work in this book shows the tone but is in Black and White. I want to capture the same quality of tone but I want it to do it in colour. His pictures are very structured within the rules of composition. Some are staged with people set in poses. All are completed in B&W.
Sato Shintari(3). on the other hand uses the bright colours of Japanese streets. At first there is little composition or structure. On second glance though you see the composition is also structured. It’s the scene that is so full of colour it stops you from seeing. Sensory overload in a beautiful way.
The quote from Brassai was taken from work done in Rome by Lara Kantardjian(4). her shots taken in Rome are fantastic in their darkness. Really capturing the mood of nighttime Rome.
These three practioners are capturing the mood of artificial light in different ways. One posed one relaxed and the third dark and moody. All from artificial light.
My series of shots are taken in Robin Hoods Bay on a moonlit night but the main light source was the sodium street lighting.
I looked around the area looking at where the light was shining. It not only lit the village but also the vegetation in the garden. To capture this light would need long shutter speeds so I got my tripod and remote release out. Here are my images.
The first shows typical light of the place. It is outside the house we were staying in. It casts a warm Orange glow over everything. Shot at f8 15 second shutter iso100.
This shot captures the clutter of the place. Shapes form in which you can easily imaging smugglers avoiding the excise men. F11 15 second shutter iso100. White Balance 5000k. In processing I dodged and burned a couple of areas to bring out detail.
This was the hardest shot to capture. There are a number of sources of light. The blue/green cast comes from the pub. The orange from the streetlight and then the window. The balance between exposure and colour was tricky. I used f22. Shutter speed. 30 seconds. White Balance 5500k.
The streetlight lit the garden beautifully giving the undergrowth the appearance of the Jungle. Some areas were quite dark but I could see they had some light. It was a very still night so I went for a really long exposure. Whilst setting up this shot a Badger came around the corner just two feet from me. I used F11. Shutter speed 60s. ISO100 White Balance 5000k. I did the same for the following shot but turned to the other side of the path.
In Exercise 4.2 the light changed very quickly so you don’t get time to think and setup your equipment. Even in periods of what seemed to be constant light its Intensity changed.
Artificial light is usually man made so constant. So you get more time to setup. However to get the balance right between exposure and colour takes more thought and more time. When it is right it is beautiful.
Oh! And the badger here is a shot from a video I captured later, it was feeding in the garden.
(1). Definition of light taken from http://www.exposureguide.com/digital-photography-glossary-a.htm. Available at: http://www.exposureguide.com/digital-photography-glossary-a.htm.
(2). BrassaI, (1932). . Printed 1952, Gelatin Silver print. Gift of the artist to Metropolitan Museum New York.http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/262730
(3). Kantardjian, L. (2016). Shades of Noir in Rome.. [online] Lens Culture. Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/projects/138485-shades-of-noir-rome.
(4). Shintaro, S. (1999). Tokyo Nights 01. [Photograph] Tokyo.: http://www.sato-shintaro.com/work/night_lights/statement.html.