Exercise 4.3

Exercise 4.3

Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of course, a subjective term). The correct white balance setting will be important; this can get tricky –but interesting – if there are mixed light sources of different colour temperatures in the same shot. You can shoot indoors or outside but the light should be ambient rather than camera flash. Add the sequence to your learning log. In your notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.


I chose to shoot this exercise when I was in Berlin. The artificial lights at the Christmas Markets were certainly what I would consider beautiful. This proved difficult because of the low level of light, made it a necessity to select a much slower shutter speed and increase my ISO, which increases the “noise” of a picture, potentially reducing its overall sharpness and quality. I didn’t have the option to use a tripod so I had to keep my hand as steady as possible for these shots at nighttime.

The higher level of light during daytime photos, as shown in exercise 4.2, make is easy to lower your ISO, which creates a cleaner image with less noise/grain and opt for a faster shutter speed, which allows to freeze action which might be preferable (or not) depending on what you are choosing to shoot. There is a wider range of options I feel, in a natural daytime shot, than there is during the evening or at night. I think that some things wouldn’t be possible to capture without the use of a tripod during times when the light is low. This can obviously make it more difficult to achieve what you want, since it isn’t always practical to carry a tripod around, especially in busy, crowded areas.

Even with a tripod, you will inevitably lose some details in the scene as the range of mid-tones can disappear somewhat and the scene will lose details to underexposure and even overexposure as is evidenced in the histograms for one of my photos, shot for this exercise below. The sky for instance, will usually remain dark (unless the moon is in the shot) when shooting with lower levels of light and it can be hard to achieve the right balance of light for the scene overall. This can create quite a nice, more specific image which naturally structures and composes the picture if you do it right.

You can capture movement a lot easier with lower quality light. If you want to “blur” your pictures to show movement or create light trails. This is a lot easier to achieve when the light level is low and you will not have to use any neutral density filters for instance to block out the existing light.