Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lacey Nicholl

This photograph is by Lacey Nicholl, a former student of mine from my Summer 2010 photography class at Atlantic Cape Community College. It is a photograph of her sister. I like this photograph because it has elements of an old photograph as well as elements of fashion photography. It looks like time has faded it and that the vignetting in the top left indicates a problem with the lens coverage, which was a very real problem with old lenses. I also like the way Lacey has posed her. This is a classic fashion pose for coats. I especially like the way her hands are positioned on the hood of the coat.

photograph ©2010 Lacey Nicholl all rights reserved
text ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved


In this photograph I have intentionally shot it in such a way that it is no longer fully descriptive. It is not possible to tell the size of the building. This photograph would not be a useful guide to finding this building. I have done so to emphasize the shapes, colors and textures more than would be possible in a photograph showing the entire building. By not seeing the entire building the viewer is free to become visually engaged with it’s component parts.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Monday, August 30, 2010


This is a photograph that has been repieced in Photoshop from 6 different photographs, each one showing a section of this photograph. Repiecing begins in 1907 with Cubism and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. In 1970 David Hockney brought Cubism to photography thru his “joiner” series of photographs where he would photograph a section of a subject and then continue to photograph other sections and finally piece small prints of them together into a larger print.

I began to put sections of photographs together in 2005 in an effort to achieve a higher resolution photograph. I was in transition from 4x5 film view camera photography to digital photography. The camera I was using at the time I liked in many ways but was deeply disappointed with the much lower resolution results that I was getting with a digital camera. The digital photograph lacked the texture and spatial clarity that I had achieved in 4x5. I was trying to make a seamless realistic photograph that did not work. I did get the resolution that I was after, but I ended up liking the unexpected fragmented image. I was not thinking of Picasso or Hockney at the time, but since that day I have thought of their work frequently.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lightroom Basic Worflow

If you have given up on Photoshop, but still understand the importance of digital editing you might want to read the following straight forward workflow for using Lightroom instead


More Night Photographs

©1978 - 2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Night Photography Basics

My first influence in photography came from a painter, not a photographer, named Rene Magritte. In his painting L'empire des Lumières 1954 he combines daylight with nightlight. Although I still have a rather limited idea how to make a photograph like this, one of the aspects that originally drew me to this painting was I am not sure I had ever seen a painting showing night quite like this before. When I began photography I found it much more difficult to make any type of night photograph with the technical accuracy of a daylight photograph.

To take a photograph at night the equipment needed is a camera with manual shutter speeds that includes the speed Bulb and/or Time, a tripod, a remote triggering device or electronic cable release.

1 Place the camera on a tripod.
2 Autofocus and then switch from AF to M.
3 Set ISO to the lowest ISO number. Set the exposure mode dial to A, allowing the camera to choose the exposure time when working in low light. For full darkness, set the exposure mode to M and set the shutter speed to Bulb and the aperture to 16 or 22.
4 Set the self timer and press the shutter button for low light. For full darkness a remote triggering device or electronic cable release may be needed.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This is an old display sign from a business long gone in Somerville, MA. The broken glass, the empty light fixtures of days gone past. In many ways I find it more interesting to photograph old decaying signs and building than new ones. The changes these decaying urban artifacts experience make them stand out from urban spaces with a sense of ghostlike mystery.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


When photographing landscapes one of things that I think about the most is perspective. I was able to enhance the perspective in this photograph by shooting it as two overlapping photographs and then putting them together with Photomerge in Photoshop.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Drawing with chalk on a walkway is for most of us our first opportunity to create public art. Unlike adult public art it disappears quickly seen by only a small neighborhood audience. I like the contrast of children’s art against adult art in the background. I used a lens with 102° angle of view allowing me to show a large area of space. This would not have been possible with a more conventional lens.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mollie Liguori

This photograph is by Mollie Liguori, a former student of mine from my Summer 2010 photography class at Atlantic Cape Community College. It is a photograph of a friend who was surfing. I like this photograph because it is direct and the subject is not smiling or frowning making the photograph look more real.

photograph ©2010 Mollie Liguori all rights reserved
text ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved


This photograph was taken on a beach in Chatham, MA. I have spent a lot of time photographing trees since I became a photographer. Before that I’m not sure I really noticed trees much more than anyone else. Now I am always looking for new tree photographs that appear to me to be different than my previous tree photographs. I observed this from a variety of different distances and angles before choosing to shoot it this way.

All landscapes require extra care in choosing the lighting. The best solution is to shoot bracketed RAW images with a digital SLR camera and a high quality tripod and then blend them together in Photoshop or HDR software. Since this requires equipment that not everyone has access to and image editing skills that are not beginner level skills, there is a more basic way of dealing with this complex lighting problem. Shoot from sunrise to 2 hours after sunrise and 2 hours before sunset to sunset. Avoid shooting other hours especially midday. Also shoot on overcast days when possible. A sensor sees everything in much higher contrast than our eyes. Working with the above mentioned lighting is much easier for the sensor to capture as seen by the eyes.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I have always enjoyed taking candid photographs of people. I find it is important to shoot quickly so that people don’t start to pose for the photograph. I find it is equally important after taking the picture to be willing to talk with anyone who has happened to notice me. Sometimes after taking a picture someone who has been in the picture will approach me wanting to know why I took his or her picture. I will reassure them that I have not done anything that will offend them. I will often show them the picture and provide them with a way to get to contact me.

This is a photocomposite of 4 adjacent overlapping vertical photographs combined with Photomerge in Photoshop. The sky was modified by pasting an area of the original photograph into this image using the Crop tool for sizing and the Move tool in Photoshop.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This photograph was taken near Oak Bluffs, MA , which is a town on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. This is one of the gingerbread cottages in “The Campground“ area. This was taken with a handheld SLR and a wide angle lens. The lens created some distortion, but allowed me to photograph very close and still include a lot of this space. The original photograph was a little tilted. I did not realize that I was not holding the camera completely straight. In Photoshop I was able to use the Rotate option to straighten it. This is a great editing option because it allows the user to rotate a photograph a lot or just a very small amount.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved

Friday, August 20, 2010


This photograph was taken near Estes Park, Colorado in Rocky Mountain National Park. In many ways this is a typical western USA landscape that everyone takes when they visit a place like this, but a few things about were intended to be different. The first is I used a high quality carbon fiber tripod to maximize the stability of the camera, resulting in a sharper photograph than most people were getting who were standing around me. I was also using an SLR camera, which has a sensor that is much larger than in a point and shoot camera, giving me lots more detail than is possible with a point-and-shoot camera. All SLR cameras outperform all point-and-shoot cameras in image quality. The circle was created using a lens hood designed for a much longer lens which when placed on this lens cuts off all four corners. I could see this effect while looking at the scene before I actually took the photograph. In the finished photograph there are often slightly gray areas in the black outer area. These were retouched to produce an even black border using the Brush tool in Photoshop.

text and photograph ©2010 Paul Light all rights reserved