Day 19: Light

32 Day Photo Challenge: Day 19: Light.

Light is the major component of a photograph. If you don’t have any light, you don’t have a picture! A light source can come from anywhere … ambient light from the sun or moon, from street lights, candlelight, a cell phone, the oven with the door open … you name it. If you want to learn how to take a better picture, learn how ISO, aperture, and shutter speed work together to create just the look you want. You’re a Google search away from hundreds, if not thousands, of tutorials on the subject. Have you seen the Capital tree? It’s big and beautiful and when I saw today’s theme was “light” I knew instantly it was what I wanted to photograph. Please respect that my work is mine and never copy images from my blog without my permission. If you would like to create your own natural light photo, however, read on and let me show you how! 🙂  With all the beautiful Christmas lights around town, you will have a beautiful finished image in no time.

1. Set out at dusk, not when it’s already dark. You want some ambient light in your picture. I left work at 5:00 last night and by the time I set up and took my first picture it was 5:25.

2. You must use a tripod or a solid surface to set your camera on that won’t move or shake.

3. Set your camera’s timer to 2 seconds.

4. Set your ISO to 100.

5. Set your camera to either Manual or Aperture Priority at f/22. This will allow your image to be sharp from foreground to background and will create more of a starburst effect on white lights. Also, the starburst become more prominent the darker it gets. Place your focus towards the front of the tree. With these settings your shutter will remain open for approximately 15-25 seconds depending on how dark it gets. Be patient and don’t touch your camera or jump around it as any motion will blur it.

6. Set your White Balance to whatever effect you like, even trying Tungsten for a different look. I set mine to “Cloudy” to warm up the colors of the building.

7. Take an image about every three to ten minutes depending on the time of year. Mine were about 3 minutes apart as it darkens quickly (see below). Pick your favorite image and enjoy! The image above is straight out of the camera with no Photoshop enhancement except to remove the dirt spots from my lens that showed up from a long exposure so learn from my mistakes! Yours can look just as beautiful. Good luck, bundle up, and have fun!

The one below is the one I chose.


Merry Christmas, Mary

Megan - December 19, 2012 - 6:32 AM

Stunning, Mom!

Linda J. - December 19, 2012 - 10:59 AM

Wow, that is a BEAUTIFUL photo. I drive by it every night on my way to the gym and it is a stunning scene. I’m surprised there haven’t been accidents in front of it from all the folks taking their eyes off the road to experience it.

Bobbi - December 19, 2012 - 2:12 PM

This was truly Awesome, Mary!

your Man - December 19, 2012 - 4:23 PM

Who needs light. You light up my world babe!

Fairly Candid - December 19, 2012 - 4:29 PM

Thanks everyone! And to my man all I can say is “ooh la la!” Love you Babe.

Kathy - December 20, 2012 - 3:21 AM

Nice pic! Thanks for the lesson, you make it sound so easy! Love the lights and the lighting of the Capitol

kathy Norwood - December 20, 2012 - 7:31 AM

Great tutorial! Love seeing the capital building and tree all lit up.

Fairly Candid - December 20, 2012 - 8:13 AM

Thanks Kathy! I imagine Texas has some pretty awesome decorations up around your state. They do everything BIG, don’t they? 🙂 This tree is absolutely the biggest tree I’ve ever seen and no kidding has a billion lights on it. They go up, down, around, sideways — I pity the poor soul(s) who has to take them down and untangle them because it will take them two months, no joke! Merry Christmas! Mary

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *