Rak­ing light is the stan­dard for a range of sur­faces

A glanc­ing angle of light throws even small sur­face ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties into sharp re­lief

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia Freeman On... -

For al­most any for­mal pho­to­graphic qual­ity there’s a clas­sic treat­ment, and in the case of tex­ture it’s when the light source, typ­i­cally the sun, strikes the sur­face at an acute angle, hence the term ‘rak­ing light’. It works on any­thing with a slightly rough­ened sur­face, and best of all when that sur­face tex­ture is a lit­tle too fine to reg­is­ter un­der or­di­nary, flat­tened light. If you’ve ever tried search­ing for some­thing tiny dropped on the floor by shin­ing a torch hor­i­zon­tally, you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate why it works.

Ul­ti­mately, it’s the play of light and shadow that helps to con­vey tex­ture, and while rak­ing light is some­thing of a cliché, it re­ally works. You still need to take into ac­count the kind of tex­ture you’re deal­ing with, though, and this varies hugely from sub­ject to sub­ject. Rak­ing light works for tex­tures of fine-to-medium rough­ness, but with a bumpier, larger-scale tex­ture it can cre­ate too many shad­ows that dis­rupt any sense of tex­ture. And with very smooth tex­tures, it’s a very dif­fer­ent game al­to­gether – see page 80.

Above are three ex­am­ples of dif­fer­ent tex­tures at dif­fer­ent scales, from a build­ing fa­cade to a close-up of a com­pressed cake of tea. What they have in com­mon is that they’re all lit by a sin­gle rak­ing light source that helps to re­veal tex­ture and de­tail.

The tex­ture of this pressed cake of tea leaves needed an al­most hor­i­zon­tal beam from a fo­cus­ing spot (Dedo­lite) in this stu­dio shot

With land­scapes, as the sun sets the shad­ows of large ob­jects lengthen, while smaller-scale tex­tures be­come more de­fined

Late af­ter­noon light at Perse­po­lis re­veals ev­ery last de­tail in a bas-re­lief, while sun­rise does a sim­i­lar job on the in­tri­cate fa­cade of the Bank of Eng­land in Lon­don

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.