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A How to - Colorado Photography #3

Beware of flat lighting - Don't let the sun get behind you.

What is light? It can be flat, directional, or backlit. Look at the sun, the direction it"s coming from. If it's coming right at you, all the objects, the flowers, the trees, and the mountains of Colorado - are backlit. Things are in shadow, but the sharp , crisp edges glow. The effect is of depth, like the mountains in the distance that appear in degrees of haze that varies with their distance. But if the sun is behind your back, everything appears flat, dull, and two dimensional. A bad picture, a really bad one - colors are muddy and everything you see is a mess of undefined details. If the sun is to your side, right or left, shadows delineate a more colorful, interesting scene. Forms have highlights on their sides and colors are vibrant. To take better pictures of Colorado, keep the sun to your side, but slightly toward you - less Than a 180 degree angle. Once the sun is ever so slightly behind you, say at a 210 degree angle, the light becomes flat, as it is slightly behind you, which starts to flatten the scene. Look toward the sun, from less than 180 degrees to 90 degrees to straight ahead at zero degrees, to take better, more colorful, delineated pictures with shadows and depth. Don't turn your back to the sun, even a little bit. Face toward the sun - look at the shadows - they should be in front, not behind - even at mid-day. To photograph Colorado, look toward the sun, and later in the day, shade your lens (your lens should never have light hitting it, use your hand or a friend to cast a shadow on the glass) Or set up on a tripod and do it yourself. If there is no sun and it is cloudy, these rules are reversed - estimate where the sun is behind the clouds and keep it at your back to get the most vibrant color and shading in a flatter scene. If you look toward where the sun would be behind the clouds, the light will be harsher with less depth and color. Take a series of shots at different angles toward and behind the sun and compare. In photography, in Colorado - lighting is everything.