Go beyond cliche’…understand the light.

Hi all, how was your weekend? Haven’t written during the weekend…was entertaining some new friends at Tasik Likas as usual 🙂 . Anyway, the tutorial did give me idea on what to write. So here it is 🙂

In outdoor photography, I guess when we talk about lights it is something that goes beyond our control (obviously) since light always change and sometimes we just can’t predict how the things will look like a few minutes later. I can predict what will come out in my camera base on the available light on that moment, but I believe that no one can guess how the scene will look like after a few minutes. Therefore to understand light, you really need passion, repeated study, lots of experience and sometimes you have to gamble your chance in order to understand light for your future references in photography. And as for most photographic scene in you vicinity, your understanding towards light may help you go beyond capturing a clichè shot.

Base on my own experience, sometimes when I arrived at one particular spot and it happens to be a very nice weather and as I eagerly set up my equipments for the greatest sunset of the year and in split seconds…the wind blows the dark cloud and turn it to no sunset at all…and all you can do is just sit and wait for some magic to happen and if nothing happen…oh yes I go back ‘kampis barait’ (empty handed) :).

And sometimes, it is just a dull day (emm…I have a lot of such days) so what I do is I take a walk just to occupy my time, but… since outdoor is beyond of our control at the end of day light, it might turn to something that worth capturing with your lens. And being an outdoor photographer I always make sure I am prepared for any possibility and always bring along my tripod…who knows there is a wonderful night-shot that you can take or the stars happens to come out and play on that night. 🙂

My point is, light is unpredictable…but being a prepared photographer can counter such situation.  Not such a technical sharing today but take it from me, it’s the best tips I ever receive from senior photographers. Oh…and here is a simple example of a situation where dull light can change into something worth to photograph.. a few minutes later. 🙂


Sulaman Highway Bridge near Mengkabung Cove, Tuaran Sabah - 8 s f/22 ISO 100 on 11/2/2011 at 6:35:17 PM

15 minutes later

Sulaman Highway Bridge near Mengkabung Cove, Tuaran Sabah - 25 s f/6.3 ISO 100 on 11/2/2011 at 6:51:46 PM

I guess that is what Jodi Cobb (Beyond the Barries, National Geographic) try to say in her tips “even if you only want to take pictures of well-known monuments, commit to the situation. Come back when the light is better, experiment with different technique, lens, vantage point, or light to go beyond the snapshot or the clichè.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekdays. Take care. 🙂


About lano lan

A freelance photographer with 5 years experience in photography. Familiar with local culture in Malaysia and has vast experience in capturing moments in any local event particularly in Sabah. As a full time photographer, I am also familiar and able to take advantage of the local climate condition. In other words, rain or shine, there is always a chance of capturing lights in action.
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