Angel Light


Morning Light Through a Glass Block Window

The Week 12 Challenge for the 2021 Edition of 52frames was to use Window Light. The secondary challenge was to use a mirror (more on that later). My apartment does not have traditional windows. We have 4 massive skylights, 5  glass breeze block windows and then a couple of more classic style North-facing windows. The result of this is that during daylight my entire apartment is brightly lit by a soft diffuse light. My problem, most of the time is not in having too little natural light, it's having too much of it. 

In photographer terms, I am very lucky to have this kind of soft, diffuse light at my disposal and I am grateful for it. That doesn't stop me day dreaming, however, of having a darkened room lit only by a a sliver of light falling through a partially open curtain. In lieu of that I do have walls built with glass blocks.

The glass block window in the the kitchen faces East which means that for a short time,  if there are no clouds in the sky, a beautiful sparkling light shines through it as the sun rises past the building opposite. It's not always the easiest thing to photograph and external conditions change by the minute as the sun gets higher in the sky but it's always fun to play with it.

My personal  goal this week was to create a back-lit angel with a dreamy ethereal quality. 

My homemade Triangular Mirror "Prism":

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Playing with Mirrors

Last Summer after watching this video by Lindsay Adler, I built a couple of triangular mirror 'prisms 'to add to my collection of photography toys to play with. What I discovered, then, was that because of their size and weight these prisms were impossible to mount to a lens on a tripod, and only worked handheld. That made them unsuitable for self portraiture. Or so I thought.  I hadn't actually tried them with my 70-200 lens but today, on a whim, I did just that. I discovered that my small  prism was actually the perfect size to wedge snuggly inside the 70-200's lens hood. Although I didn't have any leeway to move it around much, I was able to get a decent example of the prismatic effect, in-camera whilst creating a self portrait - finally! I love the dreamy, ethereal quality and the enhanced feeling of depth it adds to the image without having to use Photoshop. I look forward to shooting portraits of other people with the prism once the Covid lockdowns are  eased,  so I can play more with the effects that can be gained by holding the prism at different angles.

Behind the scenes - Timelapse of the Angel Self Portrait Shoot:

The camera, with 70-200mm lens, was positioned up on the catwalk.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

The window itself acts like a kind of prism for the sunlight  which only shines through in certain spots that keep changing by the minute as the sun rises. In order to get the light positioned on my face when I have my eyes closed (as required per my vision for this shot), I literally had to move my head around with micro movements until I could feel a blob of intense sunlight on my face. Once I had captured the kind of pose I was looking for, with the right amount of backlight on my profile, the editing was simple – just a crop, slight vignette and small tweaks to contrast and color. (See below:)

Before and After, RAW versus Edited

  • Untitled photo
  • Angel Light

I've shot portraits in front of this window multiple times, at different times of day, with different aperture settings,  so it was great to create a new image that looks slightly different from others that came before it for this challenge.

Below is a portrait from a few months ago  when the Winter equinox sun was coming in at a much lower angle and which I shot with a tiny aperture so that the points of lights rendered as really cool starbursts:

Fiction Fantasies are Made Of

What's your favourite way to shoot with window light? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting and reading the blog post. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. 

  • No Comments
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In