8

Mastering Light

The key tool we use to create and shape our images is light itself, in all its many forms and textures. Indeed, it’s said that Sir John Herschel coined the term “photography” from the Greek words for “writing with light” in a paper read before the Royal Society in March 1839. Our dependence on the qualities of the light we use to produce our images is absolute. An adept photographer knows how to compensate for too much or too little illumination, how to soften harsh lighting to mask defects, or increase its contrast to evoke shape and detail. Sometimes, we must adjust our cameras for the apparent “color” of light, use a brief burst of it to freeze action, or filter it to reduce glare.

The many ways we can work with light deserve ...

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