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In the Harsh Light of Day

Taking photos at different times of the year of the same thing can give you very different outcomes.  At the beginning of the year I took some photos of the front of the bluestone that belongs to Deaf Children Australia on a particularly hot day.  I didn’t like it, here let me refresh your memory of the image.

Doors ClosedI thought the light was too harsh and I really didn’t like the look of the doors.  The shadows were really harsh.  I always thought I would go back and do it again.  I did, sort of, though I did the front of the building.

Leanne Cole - Front EntranceThe light is so much better on this image.  I love the view as well, looking straight up. Now, how perfect are those clouds, they almost look they were painted.  I should have taken some photos of just the clouds.

You get a much better look at the doors here, the light is softer and it doesn’t look so harsh.  I am liking that word today.

I hope you agree.  I have to make this quick, I’ve been working on my artist statement most of the day, it is starting to take shape, but it is a slow process.  Hopefully it will be great by the time I have to send it anywhere next week.

80 Comments
  1. We speak of the golden hours of the day and then forget about the golden seasons.

    July 5, 2013
    • that is so true, here late Autumn and Winter are great times for taking photos.

      July 5, 2013
  2. Harsher shadows usually make for a more dramatic image, but not here! The second shot is great 🙂 Nice contrast with red door at bottom and blue sky up high.

    July 5, 2013
    • Thank you, I agree with you are saying. 🙂

      July 5, 2013
  3. Sonel #

    Love what you did Leanne and I agree, the second shot looks a lot softer. I would have taken the close-up on the door and added a “glow” (a bit of Orton) effect that will also make it look softer, with the HDR effect. 😀

    July 5, 2013
    • I don’t know what you mean Sonel, which image are you referring too?

      July 5, 2013
  4. great example of the difference lighting and perspective can make to a photo…the first looks like it was adjusted in HDR, which isn’t a negative just different…while the second looks soft and natural. Yes, the clouds are amazing….I’ve many shots of just clouds…I love how they are ever changing…

    July 5, 2013
    • They are both HDR’s Heather, the difference really is the light, the light is much softer in the second one. I have been photographing clouds as well. I have a file of them, you just never know when you will need a different sky. Thanks Heather.

      July 5, 2013
  5. I still don’t understand what an artist’s statement is supposed to be. “I paint therefore I am.” If anybody asked me what my artist’s statement was, I’d tell them to go forth and multiply. It’s a statement..

    July 5, 2013
    • An artist statement is about why you do what you do, what you are trying to do with your work. What influences you, and where you want to go with it. What medium you work in, and what you do in that medium. It is a statement about you as an artist. Galleries require them, so do most art competitions. It is a good way for them to understand you and to know where you are going with your work.

      July 5, 2013
      • Ah, right. It’s so the gallery owner can pretend that they know what they’re talking about then. I wouldn’t even know where to start with something like that. I paint because it’s what I’ve always done. I wouldn’t even begin to analyse it or try to work out where it’s going. People either like my stuff or they don’t. If they want to attach meaning to it it’s up to them. This might be why I’ve never got anywhere. Then again that might just be down to the fact that my artwork is rubbish.

        July 5, 2013
      • Haha, I’m not saying anything. Though, it is also a really good thing to do, it helps you to clarify what you are doing. It is my understanding that collectors want to collect someone whose work is consistent and won’t change too much, I think. You are recognisable, have a style, you get the idea.

        July 5, 2013
      • So…an artist’s statement is like something an author has to do from time to time when they submit their work to a magazine or agent etc. if I’ve understood this correctly? You talk about your work…a sort of C.V.?

        July 7, 2013
      • Yes, that is pretty much it, like an abstract of what your work is, why you do it, and where you want to go with it.

        July 7, 2013
  6. I agree. The second shot is lovely and much easier to look at.

    July 5, 2013
    • That is a better way of saying it, thank you.

      July 5, 2013
  7. I agree with your version #2. Sometimes a re-shoot is necessary – the exact reason why I do not do wedding photography.

    July 5, 2013
    • Sounds like a good reason to me. Thanks Robert.

      July 5, 2013
  8. I like both, but for me, I prefer to drama of the first photo. It represents to me the stark contrasts that we can often find in the world around us.

    July 5, 2013
    • I shudder when I look at that first image, it just says, hot, hot hot, too hot.

      July 5, 2013
  9. The second one has a subtlety that the first one lacks because of the high contrast forced by the harsh light. Both are interesting and beautiful images, though.

    July 5, 2013
    • I like the composition of the first, but not the light. The light in the second one is much better. Thank you.

      July 5, 2013
  10. I like the sharp contrast of light in your photographs!

    July 5, 2013
  11. I actually like both the shots! I do see what you are saying though with the difference in lighting. You do such fantastic work…I love looking at your photos! It really is fun to try shooting the same thing at different times of day and different times of the year as it really can dramatically change the view…that’s what’s great about photography – it makes you see the same thing in so many different beautiful lights! Great work!

    July 5, 2013
    • That is a great thing about photography, it is always good to be able to go back. I have so many places that I want to go back to one day. Thank you.

      July 5, 2013
  12. Fall and winter have a gentler light, for certain…or, at the very least, a longer span for capturing it. In summer (now) even the sunrise can be too harsh here, but there’s a softness to the pre-sunset hour.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not taking photos in your yard! Put dinner on, rush out the door with the camera, snap, snap, snap….get back inside before something burns 😀
    Good luck with the Statement – I’m sure it will be great!

    July 5, 2013
    • Sounds like the light in your summer is the same as here. This time of the year is the best time. Sounds like you have some experience of that rushing out the door to take some photos, I can relate to that. Thanks for the luck, I am going to need it, they are really hard to write, believe me I am a much better image maker than writer. Thanks Marie, 🙂

      July 5, 2013
  13. artscottnet #

    Awesome images! I like the second one better too, but the first has it’s own beauty as well. Have a great weekend!

    July 5, 2013
    • Perhaps with the first it is the composition. I do like that, but not the lighting. Thanks.

      July 6, 2013
  14. Love the doors!

    July 5, 2013
    • It is such a shame that you can’t use them at the moment. Thanks RoSy.

      July 6, 2013
  15. Leanne–The first photo looks HDR. I like the naturalness of the second photo.

    July 5, 2013
    • They are both HDR images John, but the first one was taken on a day when it was hot and I go really strong light and strong shadows. I tried to fix it, but nothing was helping.

      July 6, 2013
  16. Good study on how harsh light ruins a photo. Although ruin may be to harsh a word. Sometimes you may want the photo to look scary or harsh. That building looks kinda scary to me.

    July 6, 2013
    • I don’t think the building is scary, but definitely intimidating. It does loom large, I am sure it was scary to kids going there for the first time. Thanks

      July 6, 2013
  17. Pat #

    I like the perspective in the second shot.

    July 6, 2013
  18. I like your re-shoot. There’s something looking straight up on the edifice of a building that conjures the imagination.

    A question – the door appears “narrow” for a grand building. Is that a proper observation or an optical illusion?

    July 6, 2013
    • I have to agree, makes the building seem very large.
      The doors are narrow, it really wasn’t a grand building. Bluestone was plentiful, and many public buildings were built with it, it was even used in gutters, and laneways. If you walk around Melbourne, you will see bluestone everywhere. The building looks grand now, but when it was built it wasn’t meant to be grand, just functional. The interiors are not grand either. Especially not when you compare them with some very fine grand buildings built at the same time.

      July 6, 2013
  19. Beautiful – the sky really sets off the colors in the building

    July 6, 2013
    • Yes, it was a beautiful day and that sky was so blue, and those clouds, just wonderful.

      July 6, 2013
  20. There is a real difference, and I agree the clouds look painted! Let me know if you want me to look at your artist’s statement for you before you finalize it.

    July 6, 2013
    • Thanks Nia, I really love those clouds and really regret not getting some photos of just them. That would be great if you would like to take a look. I have ordered your print, and it should be here middle of next week, I hope. I can’t wait to see it printed, the others came out so well.

      July 6, 2013
  21. Love the reshoot, I agree, much nicer. I love the clouds as well. I thought maybe you added them. What a joy to have them appear live in your image! 🙂

    July 7, 2013
    • You know, I didn’t even notice the clouds until I was processing it, when I was there I was so focused on the building, that I didn’t see them, which is annoying me know, they were so good, would have been great to have got some photos of them. 😦

      July 7, 2013
      • I’ve been on the lookout for some good sky shots. In real estate photography, sometimes you need a better sky above a house. Unfortunately either there are things in the way that can’t be cloned out or when I’ve found the perfect sky, my camera is still out.

        July 14, 2013
      • I am always adding sky shots, looking for clouds or days where there are interesting clouds in the sky, I was so bummed I missed those ones that day. It is something you almost have to go out especially to get.

        July 14, 2013
  22. Leanne, it looks like a different building with the strong colors added – really like both photos … still very dramatic, but it has became a majestic building instead of a scary and intimidated.

    July 7, 2013
    • It is fast becoming a run down building, unfortunately. I hope they can restore it, if they don’t the only left will be the bluestone walls. Glad you like them Viveka, thank you.

      July 7, 2013
      • I really like those two photos … the building has been a bit scary looking on a distance .. but of course it’s abandoned. I hope they are able to rise money to restore … magnificent build with loads of history.

        July 8, 2013
      • Hey Viveka, the building isn’t abandoned. It isn’t a school anymore, but it is the administration building for Deaf Children Australia now. The building is full of offices and people in all sorts of places. I think the only room that isn’t used is what was the boys dormitory. I must make sure I saw something next time, you aren’t the first that has thought that. I hope they raise the money too. Thanks Viveka.

        July 8, 2013
      • OKay, I got that completely wrong .. because you have shown all the empty big room … so I thought it wasn’t in use anymore. That is me too quick to read .. Great news that is in use .. because empty houses don’t feel good.
        It would be terrible if they let the building … go.

        July 9, 2013
      • That’s okay Viveka, you aren’t the first one to think it was abandoned, and I don’t think you will be the last. Perhaps I should do some images on what the building is used for now.
        They have plans for it, and it is going to be restored, I don’t know how much, but it won’t be allowed to fall down.

        July 9, 2013
  23. wonderful photos!

    July 7, 2013
  24. Much, much better, Leanne! But, when you get some time (argh, what’s that?), try re-working the old image, first lessening the contrast. I sometimes have to do that twice to get a less harsh effect, but it does work well, as long as one is very careful with the Selective Color adjustments.

    Have a great Sunday, and get some rest, please? OK, pretty please?

    July 7, 2013
    • Thanks for the idea, but I won’t rework it, I know that harsh shadows are too hard to deal with and sometimes you just have to say, oh well, too many other images that are worth working on.
      Thanks 1000.

      July 7, 2013
  25. You know…they’re both great photos and I can understand your point of view when you prefer the second photo, which is to be part of a series…the first probably wouldn’t fit in with the other’s you’ve done of the Blue Stone…but that first photo says more to me…it has a story behind it. Though it is a shame you didn’t catch those clouds all by themselves…and I like the “up” view of the second very much.

    July 7, 2013
    • That first story just says disaster to me. I like the composition, but I really dislike the light. I would be much happier with the first one with that composition but the light from the second one. I really wish I had photographed those clouds as well, they were so good. Thanks Georgia.

      July 7, 2013
      • Know what you mean about the light…it is harsh and shows off all the defects in detail…almost anti-aesthetic…but though I can’t tell you why, I like it…it has it’s own character… 🙂

        July 7, 2013
      • I am pretty sure it is the composition, haha.

        July 7, 2013
      • You’re probably right there… ;-D Is there no way to “fix” the lighting with Photoshop or whatever?

        July 7, 2013
      • I did try but it is way too hard, sometimes, you just can’t fix it.

        July 7, 2013
      • That was a silly question I asked, sorry…some would say that it’s nice to know there are limits to what we can do…

        July 7, 2013
      • That is fine, maybe someone could, but I know I can go back and do the images again, so I wouldn’t worry about it being bad, I will just do it again sometime.

        July 7, 2013
      • 🙂 now that is a great answer…hope to see the new result!

        July 7, 2013
      • 🙂

        July 7, 2013
  26. galleryoftheheart #

    You do beautiful work and have beautiful taste in others work you post.

    July 8, 2013
  27. Lovely photos, well done.

    July 8, 2013
  28. michaelmulholland #

    Stunning images and so true about lighting and timing…

    July 9, 2013
    • Yes, you have to be careful, there are reason why we are taught what time of the day we should take photos. Thanks Michael.

      July 9, 2013
      • michaelmulholland #

        Oh yeah!

        July 9, 2013
      • 🙂

        July 9, 2013
  29. Love the way you capture this place 🙂 thanks for posting more on it!

    July 19, 2013
    • No problems at all Amanda, more to come. Thank you.

      July 19, 2013

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