Exercise 4.3

13/10/17

The brief: Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a sequence of shots. Use ambient light rather than flash. Describe the difference from the daylight light shots taken for exercise 4.2.

I found this exercise challenging as I rarely take images inside, either by artificial light or flash.  The first set of images was taken using an iPhone in a cafe during an evening event. I  had no control over the settings in these images,  and have not altered the white balance in post-processing. Since taking these I have invested in a ‘pro-camera’ app for my iPhone and am experimenting with that to give me more flexibility in a similar situation in the future. Using the iPhone was needed as the event did not allow for the use of a ‘real’ camera, and trying to use one would have been intrusive, even though I was just taking shots of the ambience.

The second set of images was taken in a holiday cottage on my main camera. In this case I used manual made throughout, and altered the white balance to try to replicate the light as I was seeing it. I initially hand-held the camera and then went back and retook some with a tripod. I found that, in spite of the light appearing reasonably bright to my eye, the images needed either a significantly raised ISO (6400 versus my normal 200) or a very long exposure. This set of images is part of a much larger set, as I am considering using them for assignment 4. The first set of 3 images were taken during the day, although as the light was not good (overcast) the internal lights were on.

The next set was taken at night with full artificial light.

The colours between the 3 sets are noticeably different. In the first set, taken with the iPhone the internal software has done a good job of compensating for both the low light levels and the colour of the light, clearly going for a ‘neutral’ effect,  but does not replicate the feel of the evening well.  The actual light in the room was much warmer. I have attempted to replicate it below in Lightroom, the image on the right is the altered one.

The images in the cottage all have an orange or yellow colour cast, which is accurate for the relatively dim lighting conditions. The exception is the bedroom shot, where the lights were more modern fluorescent lights which gave a blue cast.

Overall, the images are very different from those taken by daylight outside. This might be less noticeable if they were changed to monochrome, and I think the colour gives a good ‘feel’ for the time of day, and the type of place.

Learning points:

  • be aware of the lighting situation and the colour cast given
  • iPhone cameras tend to balance colour towards daylight (which may not be either accurate or what is wanted
  • an apparently ‘bright’ indoor room has much less light than outside, and needs a much longer exposure, or a markedly increased ISO setting.

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