The Second Rule of Photography

If the first rule of photography is to always have your camera with you, then the second rule must be about light. Light is everything to a photographer, without it there is no color, without enough of it you lose detail and sharpness.

Of course you can add light by using a flash, but that can create other issues – it can add too much light or create unwanted reflections. It’s essential to make some shots, but I wouldn’t use it just because your camera has one.

There is one kind of light that is almost magical – it is warm and soft and almost without glare. It’s that lovely light at the beginning or at the very end of the day – the golden hour. I’m not a morning person, so I prefer that soft light that starts about a half hour before the sun sets.

Over the course of the last week I have been practicing shooting sunsets at a local lookout point. On the way I travel through a residential neighborhood where the deer feed in the hollows and lots between houses. I find these local whitetails to be lovely and curious creatures. They are all about their dining, but any noise or movement from me gets them to look up at me. Sometimes they hold their gaze for several shots. They rarely flee.

Click through to see how expressive these whitetail can be:

After my first shot at these deer I began to give myself 10-15 minutes on my way to the lookout and I am never disappointed in these characters. In truth, it’s the light that makes these shots so intimate, you get a sense of the golden glow in their eyes, they emerge from the noisy backgrounds because there is enough light to get good focus. The details are mostly sharp because there is enough light for my camera to do the job I want it to do.

Shutterbug Notes:

I have found that your vehicle can be a good blind sometimes. Animals are often less threatened by a big box than they are of you approaching in spots where there is no place for cover. I have found that deer and antelope are naturally curious so sometimes a little movement makes them make eye contact with you – waving a bandana out the window or making clicking noises will often do the trick. When I do approach on foot I always respect the lines they set – if they huff or raise their tails I stop moving towards them. I want them to be curious and not frightened of me.Β 

42 thoughts on “The Second Rule of Photography

  1. Pingback: Enough About Rules – Shoot What You Love | the eff stop

  2. Pingback: The Third Rule of Photography | the eff stop

  3. These are wonderful! Around here we have deer too but I have not been able to get such great close-ups! I’m inspired by you and look forward to learning more by following your blog.

  4. How lucky we are to live among these gorgeous creatures – a small group has been feeding thru our yard in the late evening- woe to the tulips 😦 but still wonderful to see them wandering by. Love the photos and captions, Lorri – looking forward to more evening light! K

    • Kathleen, I love them even though some consider them pests. I rarely see them in my yard because of the pups. I’m so glad we are finally getting some Sunshine, it’s been gorgeous, even with the storms last night.

    • The winker was my favorite even though it wasn’t as sharp. I actually had a wildlife guide suggest I use a bling to get a shot of a striped crow recently, funny how they don’t care about the car, but flee at the sight of my earthbound face. I’m so happy to finally have springtime here.

  5. Wonderful images Lorri.
    Their expressions are just delightful.
    Thanks for sharing them.

    • Thank you! It can be tough, today was in another area and I had some clear shots, but the harsh shadows in the woods made getting a good shot a lot like threading a needle.

    • Thanks Diana, I was so happy the details of their came through, but great light equals great detail. I’m working on some sunsets, but I worry that they are boring since they are all the same view – so we’ll see.

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