ON1 Inspiration — Episode 14: Harsh Light Is Not an Excuse

It’s so important for photographers to have a good grasp of what ideal conditions are for the type of photography you are setting out to create. When I’m heading to a waterfall, all I can think about is having a socked in, overcast, grey sky with a little rain. As far as I’m concerned, that’s some of the best shooting conditions for my surroundings in the Pacific Northwest and when those conditions are present during a shoot, I am completely in my element.

And then, of course, there’s every other time when the weather chooses not to cooperate. To most people, a blue sky with a clear sun is fantastic. Warm weather, no chance of rain, and no chance of ruining your beach time or picnic. However, when you’re standing at the base of a giant waterfall with a giant canopy of trees above you, that sun becomes your enemy. Between the dappled light and the crazy highlights that you have to contend with, it can cut down the spirit of even the most positive photographer.

And yet, despite that, harsh light is no excuse to not try to get a good photo. There is no scenario on any planet where packing it up because things are perfect is ok… at least not in my book. Sure, you may have some blown highlights and clipped shadows. Big deal, right? You’re the artist. Work with the materials you’re given. That’s why I’m excited about this episode. It gives me an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and show you how I make do with photographing one of my favorite waterfalls with some gnarly weather conditions.

You’re the photographer. Own it all—the good and the bad.