Jan 8, 2012

Seeing Spotlights

On a theater stage, a spotlight lets you know where the action is without a doubt.

When taking pictures anywhere else, having a beam of bright light can make for a difficult situation. Too much bright, direct light wreaks havoc on the camera meter, and blows out parts of the scene...

But if you treat the situation the same way you would work with spotlight on the stage, you can wait for something happening in beam of light and make that picture.

In this case, soldiers from the Texas National Guard preparing to leave for deployment were lined up facing into the sun. Many of them squinted their way through the event.
Exposing for the brightly lit areas eliminates the background, pulling subjects out just like a spotlight on stage.

This building is the same place Terrell High seniors prepare for their graduation...

Use manual mode or careful use of spot metering to get the correct exposure in the "Spotlights."

Another interesting effect to look for is softer light reflecting from the floor or walls.

Want to see this done well in sports photography? It's hard to beat Mark Rebilas for seeing the light and making great photos in it. Check out his best of 2011 football and baseball posts for what he gets by using the brightly lit areas well.

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