Embracing the light
By Excio Photo Community profile image Excio Photo Community
3 min read

Embracing the light

We explore the profound impact natural light has on photography, from altering viewer perceptions to bringing out the true essence of the subject, demonstrating how light shapes our viewing experience and adds depth, emotion, and realism to the photographs.

Natural light in photography is about enhancing the scene's inherent beauty using the sun as a light source. Our recent photo challenge brought to light exceptional works that harness daylight in its various forms - have a look yourself at the most captivating entries and delve into how natural light can profoundly impact both the photograph and the viewer.

The magic of natural light

Natural light can dramatically alter the mood and impact of a photograph. It creates vibrant energy with stark shadows or a peaceful ambiance with gentle tones, depending on the time of day and the weather conditions. Each hour brings a new palette of light, offering endless creative opportunities.

How natural light affects viewers

  1. Emotional impact: The quality of natural light significantly influences the emotional response of the viewer. Warm, soft light at sunrise or sunset often evokes feelings of warmth and nostalgia, while the bright light at midday might suggest clarity and vigour.
  2. Perception of colour: Natural light enhances colours in ways that artificial light cannot match. Morning light is typically cooler, lending a bluish tone to scenes, whereas evening light is warmer, bathing subjects in a golden glow. This change in colour temperature dramatically affects how colours are perceived, influencing the mood and tone of the photograph.
  3. Sense of depth and texture: The angle and intensity of natural light can enhance textures and depth in a photograph. Early morning or late afternoon light casts long shadows, which highlight textures and details, adding depth. On cloudy days, the overcast light softens shadows, reducing texture but enhancing colours.

The featured photographs were chosen for their exceptional ability to convey emotion and enhance the natural beauty of the subjects. They remind us that the best light is often the one provided by nature, capable of transforming ordinary scenes into extraordinary visions.

This challenge has highlighted the skills and creativity of our photographers, showcasing their ability to fully utilise this universal light source. The photographs you will see below not only capture scenes - they capture emotions, beautifully lit by the natural world.

By Damon Marshall. Natural lighting brings me so much joy!

By Brian Scantlebury. Sun lifts itself above Matakana Island pine trees and wharf.

By Kelvin Wright. The sun rising over Otago Peninsula.

By Debra Ellen. I picked up a tiny piece of broken pampas grass ages ago and it’s been sitting in my studio as I thought I may use it for something, at the time not knowing what that something would be. And today I saw the sun on the glass in the background and grabbed some shots to see what I could come up with.

By Dan Winner. Some photos of last night’s sunset flying.

By Teresa Angell

By Ann Kilpatrick. The view out my window early one morning in Christchurch.

By Sarah-Jayne Shine. Sunrise in Melbourne. All the mirrored buildings allowed the sun rise to put on quite the display.
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