Tuesday, July 23, 2019


I don’t particularly love taking images of flowers, unlike so many amateur photographers, so the only time I’m interested in photographing a flower is when the light makes it a compelling subject.  

You see, as a professional photographer and artist, I’m drawn to light and its interplay with the world around me. Maybe that’s why I’ve photographed so many different things over my 40+ year career. I’ve always found it strange to see photographers and artists make a career of doing one type of subject—like flowers or just landscapes or horses.  

I think that’s why I’ve never lost interest in the art of photography. Because I follow the light in its random trace across everything around me I’m always finding new things to photograph.

I’m fascinated by how light reacts when it hits a subject and how the subject reacts to being illuminated by that light. I may go so far as to say that the light is more important than the subject! To quote a great photographer Gary Winogrand: 

“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.”  

That’s why I will usually pass on a great potential subject if the light is not dramatic. I’ll note the subject and plan to return when the light is ideal for that subject.

The light that I’m look for….
 f22.0 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 145mm
This is what I’m talking about; I’m photographing The Light and it’s Effect on the surface of the flower. This is late morning light after a rain shower, so we have back light making the interior of the flower glow and nice skimming light dancing through the water droplets and revealing the texture on the petals’ surfaces.

It’s all about the direction of the light relative to camera position…
f14.0 @ 1/125 sec.,, ISO 800; Lens @ 200mm
Here we have nice directional light form the setting sun filtered through the petals of the daisy creating drama in a simple subject. This image, I think, illustrates the philosophy I share with photographer Gary Winogrand when he said, 

“…the photograph has to be more dramatic or beautiful or interesting than the thing photographed otherwise what’s the point of the photograph?”

Another with back and top light….
f7.1 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
I was doing a family portrait session when these things lit-up from the setting sun behind the family.  I would never have photographed these flowers if the lighting was flat and directionless (Like most amateurs usually do).

Another quote, on point; 

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire Light. Love it. But, above all, Know Light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”  George Eastman

How are you using the light?  Until next week…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman

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