For this exercise I took a series of shots both indoors and on the street under various artificial light conditions. Here are some of my favorites:
This is a picture of a zebra crossing light post against the cinema marquee, in central London. The shutter speed needed to be relatively fast in this case to capture the crossing light full on. What I particularly liked about this set up was the simplicity of the shapes and the color contrast between the warm glow of the lamp-post and the mainly cold light coming out of the marquee.
In this picture of brickwork in the Barbican estate, in central London, what captured my imagination was the rim of cold light created by the street lamp-post directly above it. I tried to render it as dark as possible while still showing some shadow detail.
This is an indoors shot of the ceiling of the Barbican centre. Light is filtered to alter its colour when reflected on the concrete shades. I like the combination of warm and cold light and this is what pulled me to this scene in the first place.
Returning home on a foggy night, I started by capturing the lamp posts only, but then was dragged down by the contrast between the warm glow of the lamps and the cold, blue light coming from the cars’ headlights.
As part of this exercise, I did a series of night shots of traffic signs. Many of these are self-illuminated and come in bright blue or red colours. In the night they stand out against the dark background. In this shot, like the in the previous one, there is a combination of warm and cold light that blends together well.
The above is another indoors shot inside the Barbican Centre and is the only one that combines natural and artificial light. Once again, the cold light of the ring lamp surrounding the lightwell contrasts clearly with the warm light coming from this art installation (by Omer Arbel – see here for more details) and the neutral light from the skylights above.
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The light in this pictures shows very little in common with the daylight shots I took for exercise 4.2. Other than perhaps the warm / cold contrast present in the early morning shot, which is also a feature of the artificial light shots shown above, daylight is much more diffused and results in a lower level of contrast than artificial light, which is much more contained or even directional. The lack of an even illumination also allows for the shapes of subjects to be more clearly defined under artificial light under certain circumstances, but this does not always work perfectly well. In the first shot of this series, the light coming from the top of the zebra crossing lamp-post is too weak to illuminate the entire top of the fixture, resulting in an area that the viewer is left to guess. Some subjects, particularly those which may be self illuminated, may exhibit better colour definition under artificial light, and when these are combined, like in the last two pictures in the series, they generate interesting colour combinations that cannot be easily perceived under daylight.