Interpreting Landscape Lighting Impact
Clay Allen, Cr.photog, PPA Certified

Beginning as a young Boy Scout enjoying an annual August trip with fellow troop members to the beautiful valley above the dusty little Colorado town, Crested Butte, to explore the mountains and catch the trout that were abundant in the small stream coursing through the valley until the present time my journey has led me to understand the complexities and challenges of truly capturing the beauty of landscapes.

Frustration of not being able to count on the right weather conditions on frequent trips to photograph various landscapes across the Southwest led me to realize the solution was to learn to deal with what ever conditions were available and do my best to record images with impact. Each of us are attracted to different aspects of the landscape and my journey has been profoundly shaped by studying Ansel Adams and other similar giants of the black and white landscape capture and in later years to admire the work of Galen Rowell with his color images that jumped off the page.

Finally realizing it was actually all about light and how we handled and interpreted what was available for us to capture led me to prepare this program, “Interpreting Landscape Lighting Impact” based on and knowledge of the six qualities of light we have to work with. Dividing the light analysis into its parts, specular, diffuse, direction, contrast, color and brightness led me to understand we can think of the light much like we do in the studio.

A key understanding that light on a subject is best when it comes from about any direction besides behind the photographer. Learning to find viewpoints that gave me angular light quickly improved the impact of my images and the opportunity to teach landscape workshops across the Southwest for the technical branch of Oklahoma State University for 20 years and having to deal with what weather was present during the week-long trips deepened by resolve to find quality image opportunities regardless of what we faced.

We will discuss each of the six qualities of light using images that are directly out of the digital camera or in many instances digital scans of black and white and color film negatives without the luxury of retouching and enhancement. Building the power point originally for my students they needed to see what the camera gave us, not what we could magically produce with manipulation. We will also discuss what is known as the part of speech of photography including line, shape, texture, form, color and pattern.

Infrared, both film and digital, will be covered along with use of filters in photography and yes even the theory of use of filters with black and white and color film is available to us digitally to add impact to our image production today.


© CLAY ALLEN

© CLAY ALLEN

© CLAY ALLEN

© CLAY ALLEN