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Adventures in Photography by Moses Farrow

Based on Long Island, New York, USA

Photography gems: knowledge vs. gear

In a past blog, I wrote about my photographic journey and how important it is to keep it moving and alive despite whatever life stage you're in.  This time, the journey takes me into the world of photography itself and to the very heart of what photography really is.

For a long time I enjoyed working with natural light, or light that comes from the sun and the outdoors.  Many photographers pay attention to the quality of that light (hard light or soft light) depending on the weather conditions.  Direct sunlight creates high contrast and dark shadows - great for black and white photos.  Portrait photographers prefer the soft, ambient light that clouds create to dissipate the direct sunlight and cast softer shadows.  

This was taken in direct sunlight, but with the sun at the back and using available light to light the face.

This was taken in direct sunlight, but with the sun at the back and using available light to light the face.

In my explorations in the different ways of creating light, I came across this video from Karl Taylor, a professional commercial photographer, whose message is that good photography is more about being confident in your knowledge and less about the gear you use.  A solid message for someone like me, who is always seeking out more to learn.

Moving into studio lighting, without the means of natural light, there have been times I've felt like a fish out of water.  Taking Karl's message to heart, I've found comfort and confidence in learning all the different ways of creating and modifying light in creating the photo.  In many ways, the light is manipulated to mimic natural light.  My fears and questions have been replaced with newfound ways to create photos with more control.  It's like taking the leap from auto mode to manual mode on my camera.  

This was taken with a speed light angled 45 degrees down from the front right of the subject, with some Christmas lights hanging in the background.  At f/1.8, this created a very shallow depth of field, leaving just the face in focus.

This was taken with a speed light angled 45 degrees down from the front right of the subject, with some Christmas lights hanging in the background.  At f/1.8, this created a very shallow depth of field, leaving just the face in focus.

I continue to enjoy exploring, learning and building on the knowledge that keeps me excited to see what more can be achieved through my passion for photography.  Whether it's fear, time, or the thought "I just don't have the right equipment," that's holding you back, photography is something that can be done anywhere, anytime, all the time.  Let's keep on creating!

Feel free to leave a comment below describing your journeys into light modification.  Who do you look to for inspiration and knowledge?