Nature Photography in “bad light”

I think there really is no such thing as “bad light” in nature photography, as long as you are able to think outside of the box.  This recent photograph of an Airplant in Florida was taken while the sun was fairly high, and also a bit behind the subject.  Typically, this is an undesirable ambient light angle as the illumination of a subject is very uneven and will cause high variations in dynamic range, which in turn will probably blow out some of the highlights and block up the shadows.

Florida Airplant

Manatee River Airplant at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

I find this lighting angle difficult to utilize, and implausible in some scenarios.  However, it can yield some nice dramatic photos with a little experimentation.  In this instance, the sunlight has “kissed” or highlighted mainly only my target subject but caused most of the frame to fall into shadow.  Perfect for an isolating effect.

Sunset over Wetlands, Loxahatchee NWR

I just flew back home to NJ from Florida yesterday morning and I have lots of files (hopefully good ones to sift through.  I will be uploading new images from the trip regularly to but I hope to provide some commentary and technique on individual photos on here as well.

Here’s one sample landscape image from the trip to take a look at it, meanwhile I’ve got to get back to the RAW file processing!

Florida Landscape Photograph

Sunset over Wetlands

Tamron Lens Arsenal for Upcoming Florida Trip

Weather permitting, I will be flying out of New Jersey to South Florida on Saturday morning in an attempt to capture as many aspects of nature as possible.

Tamron Lenses

Tamron 70-300 VC, Tamron 90mm VC Macro, and Tamron 10-24mm


Utilizing Tamron’s line of professional grade lenses (SP), I should be ready to tackle scenery, details, and wildlife.  All I need now is mother nature to cooperate!

Self-portrait with Strat

I dusted off my Alien Bee’s AB800 strobe to prep for some portrait work, draped my black muslin over my backdrop holder, manually pre-focused my 17-40mm lens (very small working conditions), and was happy to come up with this self-portrait.

DRB 2013

Self-portrait with Strat

I’m actually sitting on an unseen stool here, so that was what I prefocused the lens on.  I thought I’d try a pretty stark sidelighting angle with the AB800 angled slightly downward on camera left to create a “masculine lighting effect”.  I do have the diffused beauty dish adapter, so I left that mounted on the AB800.  I’m happy that there was not much light spilling on the background, which helps contribute to the somber and mysterious mood of this image.

One of the best parts of shooting on black is not worrying about background exposures!