The Big, Free Light in the Sky

I mentioned I’ve been walking a lot, and taking my camera with me, but I can’t recall writing about why it is that I’ve taken fully 90 percent of my photographs outside.

In a word: light.

Since photography is nothing more or less than capturing light, pretty much everything you do with a camera is down to the number and qualities of the photons around you. And if you’re both a beginning photographer and poor, you’ll quickly discover that the cheapest and more readily-available source of good lighting is the Day Star hovering in the sky.

I live my life by the weather, now.

My phone says it’s going to be bleak and rainy? That’s a writing and desk day. Butt in the chair, crank out or clean up words on the screen, and keep the coffee brewing.

When the forecast says partly cloudy and 70 degrees, though? That’s when I steal an hour or two and head into the great, big studio we call “outdoors.”

Because, unfortunately, that’s really the only way I can manage to shoot anything and not have it look like desaturated ass.

The light in my home is truly abysmal, with windows in all the wrong places, and far too few lamps to do anything about it. About my best hope to get a good photo indoors is to wait until after dark, set up in my kitchen, and do long exposure light painting with a flashlight.

That’s…less than ideal.

Don’t get me wrong, I like going outside to shoot. It’d just be nice if it was more an option as opposed to a requirement.

There’s hope, yet, though. It looks like next month I’ll be able to start building up a decent lighting kit that I can set up and break down with relative ease. I’ll be starting with a one-light setup, but I’m picking my lights and accessories (like stands and batteries) with the plan to expanding it to a three-point system and beyond.

With any luck–and a lot of saving my pennies–I’ll have a passable studio set up by the time winter hits and my desire to go outside hits its annual low.

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