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Friday, February 27, 2009

Enhance Textures in Landscapes with Backlight

Yesterday in my posting about using sidelighting to bring out textures I mentioned that you can often use backlighting to exaggerate textures in landscape photos. I was going through my files and found this shot and it demonstrated that point, so I thought I'd share it.

The scene is in a cemetary in Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts (New England, if you've never been here, is just full of historic old cemeteries) was shot one very cold winter day as the sun was sinking in the west. I was shooting directly into the sun (though the sun was a bit higher than the top edge of the frame.) You can see the shadows of the headstones pretty obviously, but it's the smaller shadows on the surface of the snow that are bringing out the snow's texture. Look at the areas in the foreground and you'll see a lot of texture in the snow and icy surfaces, but look toward the back where the sun has burned out a bit (overexposed) on the snow and you really can't see the textures as well.

Lighting direction is a really fun thing to play with, both in close-up subjects and in landscapes. But the most important thing is just to be aware of it so that you can either exaggerate or subdue textures at will.

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