The Purpose of Assignment 7 was to explore the characteristics of light.  I was required to produce 10 images:

  • 1. A high key image
  • 2. A low key image
  • 3. An image with front lighting
  • 4. An image with side lighting
  • 5. An image with backlighting
  • 6. An image with top lighting
  • 7. An image where the texture of the subject is emphasized.
  • 8. An image where the light is concentrated.
  • 9. An image where the light is diffused. 
  • 10. An image that uses light painting.
  • I was not allowed to crop the images


Experimenting with all the different light configurations wasn’t useful to me until I was really able to analyze the result.  As someone who normally shoots video, light is often dictated by the story being told, etc.  While true, every frame is a painting, or so the saying goes, there is something to be said about moving targets and field expediency.  Consequently, I wasn’t really expecting such a difference in the emotional tone of images captured with this level of care.  

While there were no surprises in the effect of side lighting vs top lighting vs concentrated lighting, I was found a lot to learn from the high and low key, as well as the backlit images.  The first thing of course was that the eye edited out what the camera saw, which is the ubiquitous piece of dog fur caught underneath the spool in every image, very much so on display in the unforgiving high key image, which is where I noticed it first.  (This is why we have Script Supervisors!)  It almost disappears by itself in the other images, because of my choice to put a reflective surface under the spool.  The eye is drawn down to the reflection, sometimes bypassing the stray fur, but the high-key image grants no such protection.  The low-key image extends more drama, but for some reason, I am drawn to the crisp nature of the high key more, which surprised me.  My favorite of the bunch is the backlit image, which is not something I engage in a lot in video unless I’m trying to get a figure in silhouette.  It gives a marvelous depth to the object.

The light painting was a fun course of trial and error, and of making snoots out of gaffer tape.  I found the process entertaining and the result interesting, but quite honestly cannot think of a use for it.  It is nice to have it in the toolbelt though.  I did enjoy taking the texture image.  (That’s “Chunky Yarn” in case you’re wondering.)  Upon hindsight I would have liked to have shot it in a larger depth of field and in brighter lighting, marrying the crispness of the high key image with all the lovely little nooks and crannies so that your eye just moves around constantly.