Part four – Project 3 – Exercise 4.3

Project 3: ‘The beauty of artificial light’
This section is all about artificial light e.g. neon signage.

Exercise 4.3

Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots.  The correct white balance will be important.  Describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.

I am lucky that I do not live too far from a busy high street of shops and restaurants so I used this location for carrying out this exercise.  I used the work of Sato Shintaro as my inspiration.

For most of the shots I had my camera set to a relatively slow shutter speed so that I could also incorporate the light trails from the passing vehicles into my images.  As a result of using slow shutter speeds I needed to use a tripod to ensure the shots were not blurred (although that may have resulted in some interesting effects).

First I thought I would share my contact sheets from this exercise so you can see the different things I experimented with when looking for this subjective beauty we were tasked to find.




Here is my short sequence of selected images from the above to demonstrate the ‘beauty of artificial light’.  It certainly felt a bit voyeuristic but I was pleased with the results.

img_9337 img_9339 img_9348 img_9355 img_9379 img_9394

Quality is subjective but I would say the main differences in the light quality between daylight and artificial light are:

  • Soft light vs hard light: daylight can give both soft and hard light, dependent upon if there are any clouds to diffuse the light and where the subject is positioned in comparison to the sun (the light source).  Artificial light is generally more softer, probably due to its placement. It can be different colours and can give a lot more atmosphere to a scene.
  • White Balance: I think it is harder to ‘balance’ artificial light than it is for daylight because there are extremes of colour and contrast to contend with and usually multiple sources. Generally you will be taking artificial light images against a backdrop of difficult dark lighting conditions, where you may need to increase your ISO (sensitivity) so you can expose correctly.  The results of this is potentially more grain.  With daylight you can choose the time of the day to use the available ambient light to its best and it is only one source you need to worry about exposing for.

This completes my submission for Exercise 4.3, which concludes Project 3.  Now on to Project 4 – ‘Ex Nihilo’ and Exercise 4.4.


2 thoughts on “Part four – Project 3 – Exercise 4.3

  1. Pingback: Part four – Project 2 – Exercise 4.2 | BA (Hons) Photography : A Different Perspective

  2. Pingback: Part One – Project 3 – Reportage | BA (Hons) Photography : A Different Perspective

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