Tag Archives: desert

Master Back Lighting in Landscape Photography

Back light in nature and landscape photography is very effective lighting technique. When a subject is back lit the sun is in front of you or very close. I like to reference the Lighting Clock as example.

The camera is at 6 o’clock and the subject is in the middle of the clock. If the light is to either side, then it is at approximately 9 or 3 o’clock. I generally think of back light as anywhere between 10:30 and 1:30.

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In this example from the Anza Borrego in CA, the sun is in that zone of 10-12 o’clock. What I love about this photo is that back lighting adds amazing definition to the cactus and especially the Chollas. It looks like fuzz. This approach works on many subjects, even ones that dont look so great side lit.

For processing I added a hint of contrast to make the shadows touch darker, a bit of saturation, and the sky went white which is common in back lit images due to haze and such. So I added a touch of blue back in. Then sharpened a hint as well.

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Oh, The Sweet Light

A couple of nights ago I was out filming and photographing in Arizona’s Kofa Mountain area. I was actually filming for a new introduction video I was making for a new place I am going to be teaching and mentoring photographers. 

My focus was on the video clips, but when the light became golden right before sunset, I had to stop filming and start photographing and this is the result. There was no adjustment to the raw file as far as color at all. This ‘sweet light’ was all natural. I only added a hint of contrast, like I almost always have to do, and a bit of sharpening. Mostly a straight shot. 

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