AL: Hello again, tell me more about your process of light and what it means to you when you photograph.
JS: Many years ago learning photography at a very early age, it was all about composition. It's important to understand composition and to be familiar why certain things work in a photograph, and why it doesn't. Images need to be appealing to the eye. Your eyes needs to stay in the image and not wander off. Today, light is my focal. To master light is to master photography.
AL: How are you learning about light? What can you share with us?
JS: Light is all I see when photographing now. Seeing where it falls and where it casts highlights and shadows are key. Learning light calculations such as shadow length, time of day, angle between the sun and horizon, latitude and longitude all play an important role, in getting it right. You may not have the tools available to perform such calculations; however, this comes with practice and time, planning a shoot around a certain time of day, you'll be able to improve your photography.
AL: What tools do you use?
JS: A Photographer's Ephemeris tool is great start in understanding more about the positioning and capturing of sunlight. There are many apps available that are free or for purchase to learn more about sunlight. Understanding tides, and phases of moons also helps.
AL: Do you use these tools now?
JS: After careful planning I sometime use spontaneous light (getting up early and grabbing the camera), while not thinking about light, is sometimes the best unplanned light in creating great photographs. It's a balance of the two, there's never a perfect formula. It begins with trial and error, and never really being 'done'. As photographers, we are always learning and experimenting. Photography should be a challenge, a lesson learned, and a technique that can be shared with others.
AL: What do you look for?
JS: How the light is casting shadows, where are the highlights? Where are the best darks? Where are the best lights? Understanding how they all work together is part of the creative process.
AL: What do you think is best when capturing sunlight?
JS: Lots of patience, photographers are sometimes quick to capture a photo and move on quickly, looking at the back of the LCD screen not satisfied, and moving on to another spot.
AL: What do you think is the best light?
JS: Sunrise, the best time of day and the softest light.
AL: What are you planning on next for light?
JS: Light painting seems like fun, I would like to learn more, and play with light at night.
AL: Seems like another great topic, thank you for your time. Always a pleasure to catch up.
JS: My pleasure.