Use a Reflector

On March 17, 2011, in Photography Tips, by admin

Pineapple Fence Posts, Paia, HI

What do you do when the lighting in your composition is uneven?  What do you do when the lightng casts deep shadows over importants details?  Use a reflector to cast light onto the important details hidden in the shadows.

The picture on the left is natural light without a reflector.  Note the shadow on the lower left of the pineapple and the bamboo stakes of the fence.  The shadow does add depth to the pineapple, but there is a little too much shadow in the image.  Using a reflector I added light to the lower left of the pineapple and on the bamboo stakes.

Photoflex makes a series of LiteDiscs.  I always carry their 22″ model in my backpack.  It folds up small and has a case to protect it.  I also have the 36″ model which I take when I know I will be shooting in bright sunlight, especially flowers.  Besides reflecting light into shadows, a reflector can be used to create shadows.  This is helpful at high noon when light is harshest.  At that time of day you can use the large reflector to put your subject in shadows and soften the light.

Reflections

On February 28, 2011, in DC Photography, Photography Tips, by admin

Reflection on Marble Table, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Reflections can add interesting elements to an image.  This is a reflection from one of the stained glass windows in the Our Lady of Pompeii chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (click on number 71 in the link.  YOu can see the windows on the right side and the altar in the middle).  The window is reflected by the marble altar in the chapel.  The cross and veins in the marble add detail that would not be included in a picture of the window itself.

Next time you are out shooting, be sure to look around for interesting reflections.

Details from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a wonderful place for indoor photography.  Unlike other religious sites, the Basilica is very tolerant, even encouraging, the use of tripods.  A friend and I went there one dreary day and had a great time.

On the left is detail from one of the arch supports for the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome.  The upper floor features three such dorms.  For you Notre Dame fans, there is also a “Touchdown Jesus” located in the north apse.

On the right is the ceiling of one of the many small chapels lining the side of the Basilica.  The detail in these is truly spectacular.

I was not as impressed with the lower church where the crypts are located.  This area is lacking in color, consisting of browns and grays.  The exception is the crypt church.  Two stained glass windows and the organ are worth spending time with.

I suggest that you take a quick tour of the upper church before you start taking pictures.  There is so much spectacular detail, you want to make sure you get your favorite areas first before you run out of time.

Because it was a rainy day, we did not spend any time photographing the exterior of the building.  Rain ir shine, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a great photography destination within the DC beltway.