Hey it’s Jay P. here. Today on The Slanted Lens I’m going to just go walking around in Vegas, maybe a little bit back in LA and I’m going to show you how I find light. I’m out with students all the time and I’m amazed at how they can’t see the light that’s happening all around them. Or put themselves in situations where they get excellent light. Street photography with great light makes a great walk around experience. We’re going to use a 28-75mm. I love this lens because it gives the ability to shoot more architectural kinds of things and I can also get in a little tighter and do some people types of things. So let’s get out there. Let’s find some great light. Stick with me because when we’re done you’re going to know how to find excellent light when you do your street photography.
So my mantra has always been wide, tight and interesting. I teach that to my students. I try to shoot when I go out, wide, tight and interesting. The 28-75mm is a wide, tight and interesting lens. The reason is because I can get a wide shot which gives me a 28 millimeters. 28 millimeters on this gives me wide contextual images. So it’s really a great view. But I can get tight at 75 millimeters. Get tight face shots. Or I can get super tight if I go to 28 millimeters, I’ve got a seven inch focusing distance. So I can get super tight on things and make that a really, really tight shot. But then I can do interesting things like lay on the ground with a really wide lens. Or get up high and look down. Wide tight and interesting, the 28-75mm is just that. I’m going to do a wide, tight and interesting of this parking meter.
So I’m just looking for gradations of light where the light’s going to go from a highlight in the shadow. I’m just looking for those areas where it makes that transition. So when the sun’s low enough and really, the values between the shadows and the highlights are close enough, then you get a beautiful gradation. So we’re looking for a gradation of light.
Don’t be afraid of a silhouette. I love a good silhouette. Get yourself in a situation. I was looking down the mall outside. And I’m seeing the silhouette of the people as they walk towards me. I did some of this when we shot with the R8. It was great silhouettes of people. I’m looking back towards that sun. Silhouettes can make beautiful images. Remember, if you’re going to do a silhouette you’ve got to meter the sky, not the person. But the way I do it, to cheat a little bit, because sometimes I’m on auto mode, is I’ll underexposed by two stops. And meter the person. That’s going to give me a silhouette.
So I am looking for this time of day. The light’s going to start to drop. And I’m going to get just beautiful blue skies. And the neon is going to start to look fabulous. It’s a little early yet. The sun’s just going down. I’m going to just keep shooting until that neon looks great. Look for neon. It’s beautiful. This is the time of day to shoot it. Just as we’re transitioning into dark. Not when it’s completely pitch dark. That’s not near as effective as when it’s transitioning. It’s going to look great then.
It’s really interesting. Every time of day when you go out to photograph has a different type of light. Obviously in the evening it’s long and it’s warm and it’s very soft. In the morning it’s fascinating how quickly it comes up and goes from kind of a soft light into a little harder light. But it has a different look. It’s a very blue light. It’s just a really beautiful time to shoot in the morning. Most people don’t see it because they don’t get up early enough. But Julene and I get up very often to shoot the sunrise. And just that morning light as it comes up. A beautiful time to shoot.
Even midday can be really great when you get those hard shadows, hard light. Try to work in the shadow areas. Look for silhouettes. Look for contrast. Look for Shadows. It really is a great time to work as well. You just work a little differently in the daytime than you do in the morning. It’s a little, maybe more difficult to get great shots during the day. But most people don’t try to tackle it. And so you miss out on some great opportunities. So there’s different times a day to do a different type of light. Explore each of them and understand what works best for you. And then get out there and just keep shooting.
Look for reflections. It can be reflections in glass as they reflect the city around the person or the person’s face. It can be a water puddle on the ground that reflects the person’s foot or reflects up to see the buildings. It can really just be a reflection just about anywhere. In metal sometimes you’ll get a great reflection. So look for reflections because it’s an interesting lighting situation that just makes your images look so much better. Looking through the window sometimes is really cool because you see the reflection of the city, but also the person behind the window. You can focus on the reflection or on the person. They both need to give you an instant image. So look for reflections.
So this is a perfect spot. I’ve got clouds up here and there’s just a soft light coming from the clouds. But when I look back I’m looking into darker sky or darker street and sky back there. So as people walk to me I can get great shots of them with light on their faces. Soft light, but it goes dark behind. I start seeing some bokeh in the street lights and things and the stop lights. So it’s a great place for me to just sit and wait for a couple minutes and see who comes by and let me just do a few portraits. I did one just a second ago of a gentleman in a green Dodger hat. Looked awesome. So this is just the right place for me to wait. It’s the right light. It’s just set up perfectly. So I’m going to sit here for a couple minutes.
So look for shadows during the daytime when the light is really high contrast. It’s a great time to look for shadows. The shadows tell a different story about the person. You see the shadow on the wall. It sometimes can give you a new dimension to the individual. You’ll reveal something that they’re doing or something about them that you didn’t see before. It’s also a great thing to do when you have that high contrast bright light in the middle of the day. It’s a great thing to look for in that kind of lighting situation that’ll give you great images. It’ll add storytelling elements that help your images go to the next level. So look for shadows. Look for high contrast. That’s a way you can shoot through the whole day.
So I’ve got a tripod along with me. This is a Heipi tripod. It fits in my backpack. It’s just easy to pull out at this time of day and just start doing some motion blur. Either blurring people or blurring cars. I mean, just so easy to work and it makes a really interesting lighting effect. It makes an interesting kind of image as people are blowing by you. So it’s fun to play with blurs when you’re out like this. And it creates a new lighting kind of look or a new image. So play with the motion blurs.
So let’s wrap this up. Really, it’s interesting because I’ll be out with photographers and we’ll all be standing in the same place. And some people are seeing amazing light and other people are not. So it’s a matter of looking for the light and thinking about different lighting scenarios. Trying to discover that light and then use it. Wait for it. Look for the opportunities. It kind of helps to create the opportunity if you’re aware of different lighting situations. Hopefully this has given you a good idea of some of the different lighting situations to look for. It’ll help you start to see light as you’re out walking around. And then just shoot like crazy. Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. That 28-75mm is perfect because it does give me that wide, tight and interesting. It allows me to go into later in the night because of the f/2.8. So it’s just a great walk around lens for me. I absolutely love it because of that. It just gives me so many options when I’m out shooting. So there’s a look at finding light doing street photography. So if you enjoyed this lesson check out some of the other lessons we have. So keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’ and it’s time for us to go eat some ramen.
Hi, my name is Yasi. I’m a touring music photographer and here is what’s in my SKB case. I’ve got two camera bodies. One is digital, the Canon 5D Mark IV. Over here I’ve got the Canon EOS 3 is my film body. And I keep my lenses all over here, the 70-200mm, the 35mm, the 85mm and the 16-35mm. I’ve got a whole stack of batteries over here. I’ve got my big flash, the 600. Got a little backup flash just in case. Very, very, very important are my fitted earplugs. Also very important are my snacks. Don’t forget your charger and your cards. That’s literally it. So yeah, that’s what’s in my SKB case.