The Use of Natural Light in Landscape Photography 11 January 2022   

The club was treated to a very interesting presentation by Nigel Forster via Zoom. Nigel was a landscape architect and environmentalist with a love for climbing mountains and photography but during a ‘mid-life crisis’ decided to become a full time photographer. Not so easy as it seemed but after an initial steep learning curve has developed a successful commercial business as well as his photography workshops.
NF 1Each of his topics on using natural light was well-illustrated using his own superb images. Starting with the image shown, Nigel explained how he waited for the light to illuminate his selected area leaving the rest of the image dark in contrast.
Light changes according to the weather, the time of day, the time of year and the season. The weather can be predicted to a certain extent but often unusual shots can be captured just by chance so always have a camera to hand. Stormy skies with the ever changing light are often the most desired by landscape photographers. Good landscape images can be obtained in any conditions from bright sunlight to a hail storm by looking for the right subject and getting in the right position. Even ‘grey days’ are good for monochrome images. In difficult contrast conditions HDR can be useful or you could bracket the images or a graduated filter can be used.
Backlighting can create mood and drama, side lighting reveals detail and texture and front lighting can look flat so is best avoided.
Nigel explained how best to capture images in the ‘blue hour’ by planning and getting to the area early. Timing is important so be prepared as the light can change in seconds.
Nigel’s tips were – explore the local area, look for elevated viewpoints, experiment and keep an open mind.
In answer to member’s questions Nigel said that he now uses a mirrorless camera and most of his images are handheld. He was thanked for his superb presentation by club chairman Steve Hardman. PM
See more of Nigel's images and workshops - Website