I was in the sun this afternoon reading (or re-reading to be accurate) Rudolf Arnheim’s Visual Thinking.

In it he mentions one of the obstacles to creating great imagery is we tend to focus on the “creatures of the light” ie the subject – and not acknowledge the debt we owe to light itself.

The quality of light in this pic was hard since the source is afternoon sun. The sun is a small light source casting relatively sharp shadows. Unless its an overcast day, of course, where the clouds actually become the light source effectively and a very large one at that creating diffusion and softness.

Light quality (determined by size of the source totally) dramatically influences what we actually see, or even more importantly what we make of what we see.

I liked the way by moving to the left or right when taking this pic I could create lines and shapes in the shadows with my feet…. and the shape created makes you wonder about the concealed focal point. Your eyes (and imagination, maybe) take a walk courtesy of the harder light.

With a larger light source the result would be completely different. And rather banal. You’d be left wondering really what the true point of the shot really is.

Think about that next time you find your subject captivating. If you can see it, light is clearly present. Is the quality of the light adding to or subtracting from your intent?

Intent? What intent you might say? It’s just a naked woman.

To me, its equally about noticing the light and the opportunity to create shape.

Whatever floats your boat.