Light is essential to photography. During this walk about, I noticed how the light fell onto this scene at Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. I stopped and watched as this man paced back and forth in front of his market booth. I knew if he fell into the right place it would make an interesting photo. About 10 minutes went by and he mostly had his back to me or wasn’t quite in the right place. There were also tourists walking through the path in front of his shop so I waited a bit longer and kept putting my camera to my eye to make sure I would frame it correctly once the right moment came. Finally he turned and I pressed the shutter.
For me it wasn’t until around the time I took this picture last year did I purposefully and consciously see the light and chase it. In my art classes we would draw from still and life models and learn about how light and shadows work. It only made sense to focus on it in my photography. Because I had focused on learning my camera and lenses, learning about exposure, learning about how to edit and processes my photos, and focusing on getting over the fear of shooting people in public I just hadn’t put the two together yet until then. So, a lot of what I learned started to come together in my mind around this time and light made the difference. It really helped me to develop my style. A fellow street photographer, Ibarionex Perello, wrote a book called Chasing the Light and he stated that once he realized the significance of light it changed everything about his photography. I’d say the same for mine. It brought depth and mood to my images. It brought out the vivid colors (to some), and added shapes and geometry to my images. I search for light and also look for the shapes the shadows make. The shadows are just as important to me as the light so sometimes I focus more on the shadows than the light. I love how light reveals and how shadow hides elements in the photograph. Paying extra attention to light and shadows is what I continue to train my eyes to see every time I go out walking and in every photography venture I encounter.