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John Denton's Lighting Lab - The Algarve Safari - part 1 of 1 2 3

by John Denton Published 01/12/2015

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In September it was great to leave behind the freezing cold weather and fly out to Portugal for our third annual Algarve Safari. I love working in the hard light you find out there; the fantastic food makes it quite bearable too.

We were a mixed group of photographers, partners and models but rarely have I experienced a disparate bunch of people bond so quickly. Friendships formed that will last a lifetime and it was a privilege to be part of the gang.

In this article we'll examine some of the images captured and dissect the lighting behind them.


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The first two images were taken on the first morning as we explored the world of natural light and used only a reflector as a modifier. They show the difference a simple reflector can make when working in hard light. The plants caught my eye first and I loved the purple colours in them. They were growing in a raised bed at the side of a footpath. A wall to camera left put them in shade and the sun was just coming over the top of the wall. I asked Tilly to climb into the plants and positioned her so the sun was just striking the top of her hair as back lighting. In the first image I spot metered from Tilly's stomach giving an exposure of 1/2,000s at f2.8. The shallow depth of field faded out the background and by exposing from her stomach gave me good light on her skin. In the second image a silver reflector was held in front and above, pushing the hard sunlight down onto Tilly. This changed the exposure to 1/8,000s and gives a very different look to the image. I used a 70-200mm lens and cropped tight to remove distractions and create an image from a less than inspiring location. IMAGE A and B


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