Atmospheric shots – look for light shafts
Look out for the early morning or evening mist that creeps across the landscape. If the mist is with a clear sky, you are in for a photographic treat. This is one of the most atmospheric shots you can take.
What are light shafts?
We are talking about those lovely rays that pass through the air highlighted by the mist. They often pick up the golden colours of morning or the wonderful oranges/reds of dusk.
Misty conditions can arise in lots of ways. Early morning or evening chill after a warm day often creates mist. It’s best as a ground mist. Up above the rising or falling sun is bright, golden and low. Under these conditions you have the perfect situation for light shafts. It is the shafts of light falling through the mist that create the effect. Although often there does not need to be much more than a hint of mist. Sometimes only a moist air is enough. This is especially so if you are in a dark forest with bright light penetrating deep between the dense canopy. The strong contrasts will often pick out the light shafts.
How do you capture light shafts
Actually, very easily. Be careful however, because you can damage your eyes or camera. Here is what you do…
Look for the shafts of light you can see with your eyes. If you can see them then you can often bring them out in-camera by slightly over exposing the light shafts. Set your camera focus to measure light using only the centre point of the viewfinder. Check your manual to find out how. Then, make sure you point it at a dark spot – like the trunk of a tree. The camera will measure for the darker areas of scene. This will brighten the scene and light shafts will stand out strongly. You will need to use one of the manual modes to do this.
You can also look for very bright spots coming through tree cover. This is often only the case if your camera is pointing directly at the sun. This can be dangerous so only do it if tiny points of light are coming through. NEVER look directly at the sun with your eyes or through your lens. If you can, use live view. Then you will not be looking directly at a bright light. If you are able to see a place where most of the light is blocked you could capture a few rays. Powerful as they are, they will cause strong lens flare. Often this will emphasis light shafts coming through the mist.
Light shafts – examples
You can check on this search on Google Images to see a whole page of light shafts. There are so many around the web that you cannot fail to be inspired…
Google Images :: Light shafts
Getting there on time
This is one of those techniques that work best with the Golden Hours of morning or evening. So you might need to get up early. Looking out for the right conditions is crucial. So is making sure you are in the right light/dark conditions. Forests and woodland are best. Most of all, be at one with nature. These shots make exciting images to look at. They are wonderful to experience too.
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Photokonnexion Photographic Glossary – Definitions and articles.
Google Images :: Light shafts
Also check out…
The wonderful effects created by dust and vapour
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By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.