Sunset, Helicopter Flight, Ushuaia, Argentina
Clouds, Light and Color
I remember my body tingling when I made this photo. And that wasn't just from the cold. Some photo buddies and I were nearing the end of a fantastic helicopter flight around Ushuaia, the worlds most southern city. Situated in Tierra del Fuego Province Usuuaia is the jumping off place for cruises to Antarctica. As you can see the light, the most fundamental element in a successful photograph, was spectacular.
You might say that its the clouds, sky, mountains and water that are the subject matter of this image. You might even say its the clouds that are the dominant elements within the frame. Yes, but from a design point of view, light, color and shape are the primary compositional elements within this photograph. And, while the shape and color of the clouds draw the eye, we would see neither of them without the light. Atmospheric conditions create the shape of the clouds, but its the light that emphasizes those shapes. The warm color of the clouds is a result of light reflecting back down towards earth from the sun, which had actually dipped below the horizon. You can see some of that warm light reflected in the sea.
Of course the first secret to making great photos is getting out of bed in the morning (some of my good friends will see the humor in that comment). Once up you need to get out and about. And you need to be where the light is: sunrise, sunset, neon-lit night photography, etc. Now remember that the couch is only one nod away from your bed. By all means kick back, rest. But don't let life pass you buy.
T.V., iPad's, computers, resturants and pubs are all great, in moderation. But when was the last time you actually made photos. And, no, scouring photography forums does not count. Information is important for sure. As is Game of Thrones, Craig Ferguson and, for that matter, this site. But don't let those things get in the way of beauty and experience which, when it comes to photography, is most often found outdoors with your camera in hand.
And when it comes to light, which is the most fundamental element that underpins great photography, please remember, dinner can wait!
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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru