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Light in photography – a guest post post by Dave

Today I’m handing over to my lovely husband for a guest post showcasing some the pictures he took on honeymoon. I was really just thinking him writing around some of the pictures, but instead we get a treatise on light. Enjoy!

Blinded by the light

Franca has asked me to write a blog post to showcase some of the photos that I took whilst we were away in Italy on Honeymoon. For those of you who have had enough of seeing what a fab-u-lous (in the style of Craig Revel Horwood) time we had three months ago, look away now; for those of you who want to see more, keep reading…

When Franca first asked me to write this, my initial thoughts were how I could make this interesting? After all, holiday snaps are a bit boring if you weren’t there and I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed if any of you were there. So, what to do? Having looked through my photos again there does seem to be a common theme running through them: light (hence the title).

Now, I’m sure those of you who have stuck with me so far are thinking: ‘well, obviously. Photography would be a bit pants if there was no light involved’. I agree, looking at bits of black paper would be rubbish, but bear with me on this and all shall be revealed.

I’m now going to go back to a whole two days before we jetted off to sunny Italia, to the day of the wedding ceremony and the arrival of our official wedding photographer. He was very excited about the ‘perfect light’ that we had and the following day there was more ‘perfect light’. To compound the ‘perfect light’ stories, a friend of mine, who is also a photographer, came to the evening reception and was also ranting about the aforementioned ‘perfect light’ over the past two days.

So what is a photographer’s definition of ‘perfect light’? It seemed to us that it was overcast skies, very little sunlight and overall a bit gloomy. We have since found out that it’s to do with shadows, or rather the lack of shadows. This is because shadows can ruin portrait pictures by casting unwanted shadows over the face of the subject.

OK, perfect light = lack of shadow. Italy: Mediterranean sunshine state = lots of shadow. Bit of a difference here, so where am I going with this? Well, having looked at my photos there a few where the blazing sunshine that we suffered terribly under has created wonderful effects because of the shadows which have been cast. Admittedly, the pictures I am about to show to you are of buildings and not people, but I stand by my lengthy and rambling introduction.

First up, we have the city where all roads lead to: Rome. The first picture I want to showcase is this one of Ponte Fabricio:

Ponte Fabricio

I love the contrast of the leaves, which frame the shot, being in shadow whereas the bridge in the background is in the full glare of the Roman the sun. Taking this photo was a good use of time, waiting for a bus that would never turn up.

The next few photos are internal shots. I’m going to ping around the country a bit here, so be warned. First up is the inside of the Pantheon in Rome:


The inside of this Roman building is truly magnificent. It has intricate carvings which are very over the top, but spectacular at the same time: a total contrast to the outside which is relatively plain. Having said that, the photo I am showing only shows glimpses of that splendour (bottom left). My favourite part of the inside was the domed ceiling, which is pretty plain and simple. However, with a giant hole in the ceiling (through design not lazy builders or an accident or anything) the sunlight just streams through.

Right, I’m being told off for being too wordy (sorry), so the next few are shots taken inside various cathedrals. In the next two shots, we have been transported to another country for some photos inside Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican:

St. Peter

St. Peter

Leaving the Vatican, next up the amazing humbug cathedral (at least that’s what I’ve named it) in Sienna:


And finally for inside cathedrals, Florence:



Last up on the theme of light, my favourite photo from the holiday and my Pièce de résistance: the steps leading up to the Museo dell’ Ara Pacis.:


I just loved the contrasts created between the shadows cast on either side of the staircase, and the contrast of the stark, white building with the vivid blue sky and vibrant green trees. I also love how the line up the middle of the staircase created by the differences in the cast shadows, leads you into the photo towards the building which is rather hidden in the top corner. I’ve turned into a bit of an art critic type person there, but I really like this photo. I remember there was an angry, drunken Italian lady shouting whilst I was taking this photo. As I don’t speak Italian, I don’t know what it was she was shouting about, but it sounded quite interesting. Luckily sound isn’t recorded in photos, so you’ve been spared her drunken rantings.

Thanks for reading,

P.s. I’ll do another post with the rest of Dave’s (non-light themed) photos

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  • joann, sidewalk chic 5 December 2011, 2:15 pm

    Loved reading this — it is important to find perfect lighting in photography. I always get excited when I know it’s going to be slightly overcast, because it doesn’t limit you to take photos during a certain time of day. Great shots of the basilica!
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  • Fashnlvr 6 December 2011, 11:10 pm

    This was very interesting to read and I love Dave’s ‘wordiness’. It helps that he is both knowledgeable and humourous. The photos are very beautiful. I really like the way the sunbeams come through the windows above.
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