Saturday, October 4, 2008

Perfect Light Missed

Walnut Creek BART Station, originally uploaded by Gamut's Edge.

Wow, what spectacular light. I am typing this as I ride BART into work today. Overnight we had our first rain in the bay area since May. The sun just came up. Everything is dripping wet and bright sun is cutting holes through the gray clouds reveling pacific blue sky.

This is my favorite type of light for outdoor photography -- bright low angle sun coming from one horizon and the other horizon blanketed with dramatic clouds. Anyone with the slightest photographic experience would look at the scenery today and realize it is a beautiful morning for photography.

I just had a technical understanding epiphany while rolling though the hills of east bay and looking at the light. The reason why this lighting works so great for landscape photography (besides the obviously dramatic sky) is the sunlight reflecting off the background clouds. The direct sun from one side creates intense highlights, the same as it does every cloud free California morning, but the presence of the clouds today on the opposite horizon makes a diffuse fill light for the shadows. This fill light brings details to shadows and helps separate objects from their background.

I wish I could have taken a shot of this wonderful light through the window, but I already got hassled by BART security this morning for taking the photo at the top of this post. Right now there are two security cameras mounted in the ceiling of this train car with flashing red LEDs pointed my direction. It is illegal to take pictures of BART or on BART without a permit I was told by the BART police. Since I was on my way to work when the cop talked to me he saw my airline ID badge. He mentioned the name of my company with a chuckle as if to warn me that he knew who employed me. It is a shame that such paranoia is alive on such a optimistic looking morning.


BradK said...

What happened to America, home of the free, I thought one could legally take photos of anything, anywhere in public?!

CSXDave said...

You might refer to this if you haven't already seen it....

Then again, since you were obviously in uniform, anything that you would have done with the BART security guards could have brought discredit to your employer and you know the rest of what could happen.

I keep waiting for TSA or security to get me taking pictures at the airport; never considered any trouble taking pictures of trains or the subway though.....

Happy photography.