A Whole New Light

I think one of the reasons photography is so challenging for people just starting out, is because our cameras simply just don’t read the the scene the way our eyes do. In “bad” light (is there bad light?- I say no) sometimes the difference between the highlights and shadows is so great, our camera can’t process the differences the way our eyes (and our iPhones) can. You’re then left trying to achieve this balance by adding light to the shadow area or just blowing out your highlights.


From the time you pick up your first camera, you’re taught how to manipulate the settings to balance the light. We do this so that the image we get, best matches how our eyes see the scene. I remember one of the very first things I was taught in high school was “expose for the shadows, print for the highlights”. Of course, as time went on, and the digital revolution happened, it was switched to “expose for the highlights, recover the shadows”. And with a little dogging and burning- be it with a piece of cardboard or a wacom pen, it worked. You would get an image that looked the way it did when you stood in that scene and pressed the shutter button.


But I think we don’t always need to do that. What if we stopped trying to balance the light? What if we stopped trying to capture the scene the way our eyes see it? What if instead of manipulating our camera settings to see like us, we chose to see things the way our cameras do?

Plant- Image by Simon Smutek

It’s like seeing the world in a whole new light. (terrible pun absolutely intended)

Leaves on a tree