The Streetlamp and the Bounce Light


A steep set of stairs was sandwiched between two tall walls. Along one wall were a couple photogenic streetlamps, the style of which are found throughout Prague. Which means you haven't seen the last of my lamp photos - daytime, nighttime, the lamps were always looking good. For this scene the shot that first came to mind was a wide view that emphasized the strong lines of the steps and the buildings. But the light wasn't right. Here's what I was looking at:


The light hitting the building on the right overpowered the scene and I didn't care for the balance of light and dark tones. However, I couldn't pull myself away from the lamps and the vibrant colors so I moved in closer to work on a smaller scale. Even though the sunlit building was too harsh, it's what made the main blog photo possible. Notice the illumination of the left wall. That's all coming from bounce light. The light hitting the right wall is bouncing off and throwing diffused light on the left wall. And that bounce light was absolutely delicious. There was a beautiful wash of light across the lower lamp. I a found spot under the lamp where I could maximize the bright colors in the background. I tried a lot of small variations, experimenting with the lines at different angles and how the lamp lined up with the background.

Not wanting to give up on a wider shot, I found I could work with the second lamp to show a sense of scale. It was on the edge of the bounce light which nicely spotlighted the lamp while the rest of the wall fell into shadow. I went with a narrow crop to emphasize the height of the wall.


These photos were taken in the afternoon. Looking at the angle of the light, I thought perhaps the left wall would catch some good light in the morning. I came back another day but it wasn't worth shooting. The bounce light was the winner. Sometimes it's not the light you expect that makes the shot.