There are many kinds of light and lighting to explore in the great diversity of light we find at night.
One of the most dramatic is seen as streaks of light breaking through the atmosphere, usually caught by fog, mist, dust or smoke.
Often this style of lighting depicts a more spiritual or ethereal aspect of a subject, and can be thought of as inspirational light.
It adds significance and strength to an otherwise average subject, creating something greater than the subject itself.
The light energizes the subject, brings it to life, and makes it more compelling.
In the daytime, this unique light is commonly seen as shafts of sunlight streaming out of the clouds, shining down on us from above, as if the sky is opening up and speaking to us.
At night, this evocative light is seen as beams from veiled light sources stretching upward toward the heavens, or reaching out into the world from some dark corner.
Shafts of light create an interesting visual paradox. As the beams pull our eye away from the subject, the light actually draws more attention to the subject, giving it greater import.
IMAGE : Lighted One, Santa Clara, CA
This statue of “Our Lady, Queen of Peace” stands 32 feet tall, and is lit from below by a bright spotlight. It is part of the Roman Catholic parish of the Diocese of San Jose.
I returned to this scene many times in search of a shot that would portray the essence of this religious symbol. I finally captured the sense of spiritual light I was hoping for in heavy fog. The figure was made of a metal mesh that added a sense of light shining from within.
This image was a 30 second exposure shot at f16 with TMAX 3200 film.
IMAGE TINT : GallerySelenium
Selenium toning creates a cool purplish hue in the darker tones and cools the highlights. The toning was used to strengthen the tonal separation in the statue and streaks of light.
This B&W image was toned in Adobe Photoshop with an ICC Profile I generated from my Mac App SuiteProfiler. The Profile was derived from the “GallerySelenium” Color Map created in SuiteProfiler.
Click these buttons to download the ICC Profile and SuiteProfiler Color Map:
EXERCISE : Inspirational Light
Look for beams from a single light source caught by some atmospheric effect, like rain, fog or smoke. Compose an image to capture the inspirational light.
Be sure to review the Safety & Precautions page.
FEEDBACK : Inspirational Light
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NEXT TIME : “Supplemental Lighting”
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