I have to admit something. I’ve been stubborn.
Ever since I picked up my camera a few years ago and started to pursue the art of making compelling landscape images I have been following the experts in the field, watching tutorials and taking workshops. One thing that always comes up is how important light is. Yes, yes, yes - of course light is important I would say to myself and then I would return to learning another post processing technique to unlock the hidden potential of my images.
But the subject of light would resurface.
It seems I am a slow learner. Or perhaps I had just not experienced the difference light can make enough times to become a believer.
The other day that changed. Late in the afternoon a storm rolled over the hills and down towards the bay. I had checked the weather forecast earlier in the day and was expecting it. I had also checked the Photographer’s Ephemeris to see just where the sun might be positioned when this storm came through and had picked a location that I thought might have a favourable view. The one thing I didn’t anticipate though was in the end the one thing that made the biggest difference.
The light. It was extraordinary.
Great light can’t be missed. You'll know it when you see it. When you stand on site and can’t help but pause to stare at the beauty of the scene, when you look at your shot on the back of the camera lcd and it looks fantastic, when you snap a shot with your iPhone because it needs no filter and when you upload your photos to your computer and they require little to no editing... that’s great light at work. Great light is powerful.
And now I’m a believer.
Great light is a crucial element of great images. Its’ not the only element but it is absolutely key.
Now that I've been converted, will I only take photos when the light is right? No - for me there is still value in taking photos as often as I can - any practise time is good time. But when the light is good, you can bet I will be making good use of it.
So if you are still looking for that magic post processing secret... let me just save you a bit of time... look for great light!