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If you’ve followed my Tip of the Week on the OP website for a while, you’ve read the following words multiple times—It’s All About The Light. If you’ve been with me on one of my nature photo tours, you undoubtedly heard me use the quote. If you’ve telepathically crawled inside my head, you’ve felt those words radiate through my brain. It’s an expression I use often and for good reason. The art of photography is all about writing with light. The better or more dramatic the light, the more impressive the image. It’s with this in mind that I want you to become familiar with the expression and heed the meaning of my words. After all, “It’s all about the light!”

So what exactly do those title words mean? The way I look at it is I’d rather photograph a mundane subject in great light than a great subject in bad light. For instance, a majestic mountain shot on a dark, dreary and gray day nets a bland image due to the flat and boring light. Conversely, an ordinary, simple stretch of prairie with storm clouds and a gorgeous rainbow will elicit more oooohhhs and aahhhhs from viewers. Even though the subject matter in the first situation has more intrigue, given the poor lighting conditions, the image falls short.

In the first image that accompanies this article, the dramatic light occurred when a break in the clouds allowed the sun to briefly spotlight the pair of yuccas at sunset. Storm clouds to the east were ominous, and they took on a steel blue color. I got down low so the primary yucca pod appeared above the bright horizontal storm cloud. Lighting situations like this don’t occur often. They’re much more dramatic than if the same scene was shot with simple blue-sky background. I had to be careful in how I metered the composition. The dark clouds fooled the meter into thinking it needed a long exposure. A simple check of my histogram confirmed that a minus 1 stop setting prevented the red channel from over exposing the yucca pods and warm color on the dunes. When dramatic light unfolds, be sure to cover all bases, as you won’t get a second chance. It’s All About The Light …

The direction of light is important to the success of the image. I much prefer sidelight to front light except for when I photograph wildlife. The angle and color of the light in the image of the flighted cattle egret is key to its success. The birds were headed to their roost for the night. The direction of wind along with the position of the sun both fell into place, as birds like to land into the wind. The warm directional light illuminated the wings and underside of the bird. The color of the setting sun enhanced the beak and orange crown on the egret. The warm blue sky along with some very subtle clouds provided a clean backdrop. It’s nice when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. When you encounter similar situations, take full advantage to get as many keepers as possible. It’s All About The Light …

In the final image, taken along the coast of Oregon, once again, the “lighting director” worked some overtime. A perfect set of clouds hovered above the sea stacks. The horizon where the sun was about to set was clear. Had there been clouds, the dramatic color wouldn’t have unfolded. The color started slow and then all of a sudden erupted. A receding wave allowed me to run into the surf to obtain an angle so as to not merge the sea stack on the left with the foreground rock. It’s All About The Light …

Photography Techniques – Outdoor Photography How Tos |


While he was born in 1965, it wasn’t until 2008 when Tatsuo Suzuki first picked up a camera with the intent to be a photographer. Since then, he’s been traveling around, camera in-hand, capturing the turbulent street life of Tokyo. Deep in contrast, strong in grain and often paired with a dragged out shutter, his monochrome images seem to paint a perfect picture of the world around him.

From the EXIF data found on his site, most of his latest images seem to be captured with the FujiFilm X-E2, a powerful and portable camera perfectly suited for his street photography style. It’s through the lens of this camera that Suzuki captures the exhaustive chaos that ensues around him everyday, depicting a gritty, first-hand perspective of the busy streets he walks.

Below are a number of images Suzuki was kind enough to share.






















To keep up with Suzuki and his work, you can do so over on his Flickr, as well as his Just a Toy website.

(via [Fstoppers](

***Image credits**: Photographs by [Tatsuo Suzuki]( and used with permission*


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