Catch the Light

Published Jul 8, 2013 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 14 Contributors

    14 photos selected by

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer
    • 0

    The Namib Desert, must be one of the most fascinating places on Earth, walking into the low light...

    #dunes #wind #namibia #light #namib #sand #golden #desert #backlit

    Fleeting or steady, capricious or intentional, light is the fundamental element of photography. Illuminated edges reveal shapes and textures, giving form to objects. Shadows and reflections create impressions that may exist only for a moment. Light plays with particles of the atmosphere to create layered dimensions. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, infused with mystery and mood.

    For this assignment we invited you to speak the language of light. You responded enthusiastically with more than 10,000 submissions of what this means to you, covering the full spectrum of sunny rays, filtered beams, ghostly illuminations, and otherworldly glows. You played with color and explored the power of black and white. The frames below represent examples where you harnessed the light to take your photographs to the next level.

    The shadow of a man lunching in a restaurant is projected on the wall above another table

    #man #interior #shadow #dining #chair #glass

    Light is time thinking about itself.—Octavio Paz

    To catch the light photographers must be watchful, still enough to notice our surroundings yet be ready to press the shutter when something unexpected comes into view. Whether a photograph is of something that exists naturally or has been conceived for an intended effect, an understanding of the interplay between light and form is paramount. Going one step further, we can use our cameras to catch light beyond what our eyes see, like the frenzy of hovering fireflies frozen in flight or the light of distant stars.

    i'm standing in knee deep water trying to get my camera just above the lip line to catch the sunr...

    #sunrise #waves #light #hawaii #ocean #water #beach #clouds #sky #nature #sunrays

    Editor's Note

    The sun is rising and perhaps you already have an idea in mind of the kind of shot you want—just ... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    "Who am I? I am a St. Lucian who recently left home to live in Barbados with my new family. Havin...

    #african #natural #hair #st #caribbean #black #woman #bajan #girl #lucia #barbados #lucian

    Subtle light falling on the human face is a thing of beauty, and this story wouldn't feel complete without an example. While natural light is the classic choice, a carefully lit situation can be equally powerful.

    Wild dolphins normally go hunting in deeper waters at sunset, but they have to surface to catch a...

    #sun #silhouette #light #wildlife #sea #water #mammals #dolphins #swim #animal #dolphin #nature #sunrays

    Editor's Note

    The light gilding the outline of the dolphin in the foreground is the first thing that catches my... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    Its in the night when different and original shapes appear. Its necessary to keep the eyes open a...

    #sillhouette #night #lowlight #shadows #light #nighttime #room #art #mysterious #music #bizzare #people

    One morning I looked out my window and saw that... www.dishartphotosession.com www.dishartpho...

    #sun #reflection #sunbeam

    Winter sunset in the Italian Dolomites on a backcountry traverse. The last rays of sunlight hit t...

    #winter #alpine #black_and_white #dolomites #adventure #mountaineering #alps #sunset #nature

    Editor's Note

    Experiencing images in black and white focuses the eye on the basics of light and composition without the distraction of color. The texture of the illuminated rock face sings in contrast with the s... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    The backside of a purple geranium.

    #transperancy #delicate #flower

    The combination of bright light and color work to create this luminous gem—and to reveal patterns we otherwise would not see. A humble geranium is transformed into a work of art.

    This photo was taken during a procession in Antigua Guatemala during Holy Week.

    #antiguaguatemala #light #semanasanta #holyweek #procession

    Editor's Note

    The light shining through the smoke creates an aura of mystery perfectly in sync with the event itself. Being eye level with the faces in the crowd, I feel an intimacy with the crowd, almost as if ... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    Lost in life stile - Childhood especially the urban childhood is loosing its essence under mammo...

    #canitouchyou

    Editor's Note

    I love the boy emerging from the shadows, illuminated just enough to make out the playful express... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    Sunlight effects at the railway station can make an everyday spot kind of magic! Taken at Santa J...

    #light #trip #train #station #black_and_white #city #transportation #railway #urban #people #travel

    Editor's Note

    The photographer's choice of vantage point—standing inside the tunnel looking out towards the light—works on a conceptual as well as an artistic level. We experience the feeling of going from shado... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they sta...

    #bioluminescence #timelapse #bugs #light #lightningbugs #explore #fireflies #trees #forest #nature

    Editor's Note

    The woods are alive! Fireflies are magic in and of themselves, but seeing them en masse, emerging... More

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    Kozji Vrh is a village in Gorski Kotar, Croatia, along the border with Slovenia. Because of the i...

    #landscape #night #light #stars #nightsky #explore #cabin #ray #greatnature #sky #cosmos #travel #nature

    Editor's Note

    The juxtaposition of the vast, starry sky and the cozy interior light of the cabin is clean, simple, and clear. This is a familiar, iconic scene but no less pleasing for it.

    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer

    To be a photographer is to be a master of light, to be fluent in the interplay of composition, shape, and color exactly as it exists in any given moment. The story told by a particular familiar scene becomes altogether different depending on time of day, weather, the angle of the light, or the position of your subject. A quiet forest floor hums with life in the twilight, a building facade on your street is suddenly covered in tiny panes of light as the sun hits the opposite windows just so, a brief ray of light illuminates grains of sand blown by the wind. You are there, watchful and ready, to catch the light.

    About the Editor
    Alexa Keefe
    Photography Producer
    Alexa Keefe has been working with photography for over ten years as a photo librarian, photo editor, and photo producer. She is the Photography Producer for nationalgeographic.com and the editor of Photo of the Day.

    Photographers Published In the Story