Saturday, May 30, 2015

Photographing Atmosphere

The Morning Window - San Simeon, California
Something I've discovered lately is that I really like creating photographs with atmosphere. There is something timeless and mysterious about them. The atmosphere adds unique interest. Atmosphere captured makes an ordinary image extraordinary.

What are photographs with atmosphere? Basically there is something in the air, such as dust or mist, that is illuminated. There has to be something in the air and there must be a strong light source illuminating it.
Light Rays - Stallion Springs, California
So how do you create photographs with atmosphere? Well, you have to find situations where there is stuff in the atmosphere to be illuminated and a light source to illumine the stuff. This may be dust from an old home with an open window. This may be the dirty air around Bakersfield, California with a partly cloudy sky. This may be the mist from waves crashing onto Morro Rock while the sun is setting.

Actually, you'll notice that those are the three scenarios of the photographs in this post. There are varying degrees of perceptibility, but in each image there's some atmosphere captured.
Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
You could also create your own atmosphere. I haven't done this yet, but I'd like to give some of these ideas a try. You could use a fog machine. You could drive down a dirt road to stir up the dust. You could use a little flower or chalk to add dust to the air. I've heard of people using a bunch of small candles for the smoke. You can even artificially light the scene with studio lights--or even a flashlight--if you'd like.

This is something that I hope to experiment with more in the upcoming months. It should be an interesting photographic adventure.

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