Magical Light

Light is the most important element in photography. You are capturing the light and the type of light affects the image you will create.

The magic times are sunset and sunrise, the ‘golden hour‘ and the ‘blue hour‘.  This is when you get the lovely soft light.  Above was taken by shooting towards the sky where the sun was setting, creating silhouettes of anything in the foreground.  Below is the view west using the golden light from the sun rising in the east which gives the landscape a warm colouring.

Sometimes you can use reflected light or diffused light where you can make use of light bounced off another surface.

There is overcast light which can be soft and subtle with a blue tint.

Backlight can produce interesting photographs with light filtering through the subject (as in leaves or a flower) or a sun flare as in a landscape image.

Direct light is usually a harsh light casting strong shadows. Colours can be overblown , but black and white images work well. I was lucky with this Hydrangea taken in the middle of the day.

Open shade occurs where there is no direct sunlight, but a filtered light which is soft and dreamy.

Sometimes the light is extraordinary and unusual like this sky below which was seen this week during a lightning storm.

And sometimes we create our own light, through using flash or long exposures.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #19 | Magical Light


  1. Sadje says:

    All beautiful pictures in different light shades and sources!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Sadje.

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome.

  2. Ali says:

    Funnily enough I was just looking at photos of the sunrise yesterday where I think it was blue light. There is so much to learn about photography! Thank you Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      A pleasure Ali. I only wish I could master the long exposures, but I have tried unsuccessfully. My images are always overexposed.

  3. restlessjo says:

    Well, that sums it up pretty well, and using some magical photos too. 🙂 🙂 Thick fog here this morning. Haven’t seen any in a while so I suppose it has it’s own magic. Have a good weekend, Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      The sky in that last photo was very dramatic! We had the fog yesterday, just gloomy today, but sun forecast for the weekend 😊

      1. restlessjo says:

        New washing machine arriving imminently. Whoopee! 🙂 🙂 Now is probably a good time to say that I’m Internetless from Monday. Mick has terminated Virgin Media from then. Hope to get out somewhere on Sunday for a last gentle fling. Our Monday walk is at Osmotherley so keeping fingers crossed for that. 🙂 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          Only you could get excited about a new washing machine! Hope you manage to understand how it works! Everything seems so complicated nowadays which is why I am reluctant to buy a new car! Enjoy your last week in the UK. Hope all your dreams come true and remember you are both welcome to visit us in Cornwall should the opportunity arise.

        2. restlessjo says:

          Thanks darlin! Did the first wash dry because someone forgot to turn on the water. Tee Hee 😃😃

  4. beetleypete says:

    Excellent examples, and all lovely shots, Jude. The old tin mine is in wonderful light indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      That golden light makes things look very different, and the stormy sky was very unusual and dramatic.

  5. That was a super helpful post with clear explanations and fabulous photos. Thank you! Back to my camera! 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      The point is that any light will do, it all depends on how you use it 🙂

  6. pommepal says:

    Really got it all covered with excellent examples of all the different types of light. The stormy sky is so dramatic and I also loved the hydrangea so vibrant

    1. Heyjude says:

      That stormy sky was quite scary! I couldn’t capture the lightning but it was streaking down the sky. Never seen the sky that colour here before.

      1. pommepal says:

        Lightening is very hard to capture, I have never managed to get a shot of it. Just had a big thunder storm pass through, we just caught tail end of it, further north had trees down and hail. Now for us just beautiful gentle rain, great for the garden

  7. Tina Schell says:

    Well there you have it Jude – a complete dictionary of photographing light. Wonderful post! Your illustrations are spot on!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Tina. A good challenge!

  8. While you’ve often taught about history and geography in your posts, I don’t recall one so focused on photography, in particular how lighting affects it. I’m often reminded that the word photography itself means ‘writing with light’.

  9. Amy says:

    A beautiful set of light, Jude! You got all covered. Truly magical. 💖

  10. Magical light indeed! You’ve shown it up beautifully to varying effect. Great post Jude. Love the contrasts and especially that brooding light in the stormy sky scene,

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Liz. The stormy sky was most unusual. I just had to grab the camera!

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