Changing Light on an Orchid

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Light is, of course, the basis for photography. It can be fascinating to watch light change as conditions change, sometimes from minute to minute. The photos at top and bottom of this page have been processed, but no changes have been made to colours, contrast, etc, other than the most basic.

This orchid sits on a table in my lounge, in a position which catches the morning sun. Now this can only happen at this time of the year, as there is a large tree which, in full leaf, shades the window which lets in this light. On this particular morning there was drifting overcast with patches of clear sky.

In fact the two pictures were taken less than 2 minutes apart. The bottom one was shot while the light was being filtered through cloud. The top one was taken as the cloud moved away, leaving a hard backlight on the orchid flower. I had already noted the movement and change of the light, but the next trick was picking the right angle. Like most sitting rooms, mine has many items which will form a distraction, so a few contortionist movements allowed me to get these shots.

A key part to getting the shot right, alongside care with composition and finding the right angle, is spotting the right light, and simply putting the camera down and observing what the light is doing at that moment in time.

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