Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Last week I talked about using directional (side) lighting on fall subjects.  This week I’ll show and talk about Backlighting of fall leaves. I’ll admit it, I’m a fanatic about backlighting. I use back lighting for my backgrounds on most of my outdoor portrait sessions—regardless of the time of year. In fact if there’s no backlight giving me a nice background glow I’ll move to a different location.

So, when I’m out targeting fall color subjects what I’m stalking is backlighting. I can spot that glow from 100 yards! These leaves caught my eye about 50 years from another subject I was photographing…

f5.0 @ 1/640 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 200mm
During midday, front lighting, these leaves were dull, black, tubes of little interest. However, at the right time of day—an hour before sunset—in warm backlight these leaves became collectors of light—looking like scoops of molten steel! Using a relatively wide aperture of f5.0 to get just enough depth-of-field and my lens at 200mm I made the background fade away so these beauties could really pop.

Now how about some strong backlighting in afternoon (1:20pm) light….

f10.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 800 lens @ 200mm
I was pretty much done after doing some morning photography when, standing under this tree, I looked up and saw these great leaves in several colors. Zooming in to 200mm to reduce the amount of bright sky and find a nice composition this was the result.

Don’t forget to look down as well!  I zeroed-in on this detail in noon backlight…

f6.3 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 400; lens @ 200mm
The ground was covered in leaves creating a challenge to me. What to pick? I looked for a contrast amongst the mass of leaves. What caught my eye was the shadow of the leaf behind this red leaf in the foreground. Then I moved my camera position a little to have those two background leaves backing-up my red leaf.

I Love Backlight! You can use it through-out the day if you’re careful—just don’t forget to look UP, Down—and All Around!

In part 3 I’ll talk to morning light and how I use it. ‘Till next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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