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

by John Denton Published 01/12/2015


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.


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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1st Published 01/12/2015
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