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  • Webheath DPC

Night Lights

This is a post about photographing a mundane every day subject – house lights. After the clocks changed recently and it got darker and darker in the late afternoon, I was forced to switch on lights to work. One afternoon I noticed the shadows cast by the lights and thought that it might make for some interesting black and white photography. At this time of year (early December) lights are a traditional way of warding off the darkness and celebration as the winter solstice approaches.

Like most houses there are a variety of lights and I set about discovering the most interesting ones for photography. I tried a few experimental shots and decide the approach I would take would be one of emphasising the shadows, of light and dark - chiaroscuro.

These photos were taken over 3 days, just after sunset as the light died, but not total darkness. They are not realistic photos. For a start they are all black and white, but also, they have been exposed and processed to emphasise light, shadows, and texture.

I didn’t add or modify the light being produced but what the images show isn’t how they appeared to the eye at the time! I rearranged a few things to take these photos but mostly they were taken how the lights were already set up in the house.

My favourite image is this UFO-like bathroom light. Playing around with the exposure for this light makes it look totally different to how it looks in real life. It did take quite a bit of post processing to remove spots of dust and a dead insect. I must clean it more often!

This is quite different from the landscape photography I normally peruse. Experimenting with exposures on these lights was a great exercise in what you can do with the “wrong” exposure settings. From a purist perspective, some of these may be wrong because there are some big blocks of almost pure black and almost pure white. But I like the graphic and, sometimes, abstract approach. In the end I was pleased with this set of photos and I think it shows what you can do without having to travel from home. Quite handy in these times of uncertainty and travel restrictions.

Perhaps you could challenge yourself to find something mundane around your house to create an interesting set of images. The low light or darkness this time of year can create a completely different spin on everyday objects.

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