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Light & How to Photograph It by Michael Freeman

Obregon Obregon

Is from: Southold, US
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Obregon Moderator Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Charter Member
Mon 10-Aug-20 05:43 PM
"Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts."

One of the advantages of taxonomy is that it helps you to understand, use and manipulate the subject of the taxonomy. In this book, Michael Freeman has given photographers a taxonomy of light. And of course, as another author says, without light all you have is a dark frame!

Freeman divides the book into three parts: waiting, which is about the kind of light the photographer can plan for; chasing, about unpredictable light; and helping, either by manipulating light or by post processing. The range of light covered in the waiting section runs from bright sun to glowing light, and the remaining sections are similarly organized. Each light type is organized into a two-page spread. The spread includes a one or two full size illustrative photographs by Freeman, text and other explanatory material like graphics or a sequence of photographs to show the choices the photographer had to make. The text explains things like how to plan for the light, or what subjects best benefit from a particular form of light. Even though this book is about light, the author assumes you know how to set exposure and only discusses settings when there are special adjustments for the particular kind of light. He does not, with just a few exceptions, deal with artificial light, like flash

An earlier edition had the title "Capturing Light" but I was glad the publisher revised the title because it allowed me to rereview the book. The covers states it has been digitally remastered, but I have no way to compare it to the prior edition, which is located 200 miles away while I take shelter in the country.

Not only was the book a joy, but I kept wishing for bad weather so that I could go photograph in light that I've generally avoided. Freeman is a practical photographer, and often notes that he had to photograph in a certain kind of light, even if less desirable, because he had to get the shot. He also is frank to say that, even though he tries to capture the best light when he shoots, there is a place for adjustments in Photoshop. While he uses high dynamic range photography when the range of light is too great for a single image, he disdains the use of the technique for gaudy super haloed images.

Most of Michael Freeman's books are aimed at just a small portion of the skills a photographer needs to have. On the other hand, developing and fine-tuning a skill like using light is essential if you really want to get great pictures. I could not more heartily recommend a book.