Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pam & Julius

Saturday officially kicked off my 2007 season with a fabulous wedding at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. Jeannie Dankowski from the Marriott did an awesome job coordinating the wedding and Parkway Florist did the floral design.

The groom’s father, The Rev. Louis Ridgley, Jr, presided over the ceremony. The bride’s beautiful ivory gown was from MB Bride in Greensburg.

During dinner, and well into the night, the band Dreamscape kept the guests entertained and dancing.

Oh, and did I mention the couple met while working at "a place for smiles?"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Available Light

In college my favorite professor would constantly expound how he photographed every assignment strictly by “available light.” But looking at his pictures you could tell many were lit by more than one source. After being questioned over and over he finally relented and gave us the answer. To the professor, available light was whatever light you had available whether it was the sun, a few reflectors or a step van full of powerful electronic flashes. As long as it was “available” to you, it was “available light!”

At the time we just thought the old guy was daft. Years later I realized he was a genius. I felt like grasshopper in Kung Fu, finally grasping the wise old man’s message.

Whether you use a single candle or a dozen flashes, the only thing that matters is the light quality. The light quantity determines your exposure, but it’s the quality of that light that will determine the message your image conveys. Quantity and quality are often mutually exclusive.

In the following examples, I photographed Sister with just the light coming into her apartment from the window. Neither flash or reflector provided extra light. The quality of light was exceptional so all I had to do was composed, focus and shoot. Available light at it’s best.

Unlike Sister, these next photos from a recent portrait project required much additional lighting, which was “available” in my trunk.

There is a time and place for each style of lighting. As professionals, it’s our job to be a master of the tools we have available and know which one is more appropriate than the other in every given situation.