Assignment 4: Languages Of Light

First Impressions, Initial Response And Ideas

My love of the outdoors and exploring new places made it easy to choose a theme for this assignment, the first sunrise natural daylight and the effect of this on the subject at hand. The effect of sunlight can create fog at sunrise, this really adds a mystical feel to imagery and I hope this has come through in my work.


After researching the work of Agtet who photographed Paris architecture, especially in the early morning with fog and mist to add an eeries feel to his work, and several others who used both artificial and natural light, the work of Sally Mann (Southern Landscapes) and Immediate Family were most appealing to me, her use of natural sunlight when photographing the landscape and her own family created images like something from a dream. My love of the outdoors and sunlight made this a natural choice for me. I am currently reading her memoirs called “Hold Still” where she describes the farm where she lives, the outdoor beauty and soft light of the deep south of America that enhances her work so well. I don’t like some of her work in Southern Landscapes where it is too abstract so the natural form and beauty are almost lost because everything is so dark. I personally prefer to see clearly the small details in nature. This is why I chose to produce work in colour because this captured the beauty and the mystical feel I wanted to create.

Creative Approach

I captured the early morning soft sunlight directly through the foliage to bring out the vivid colours of the autumn leaves, this also created a mystical, magical feel to some of my work. I tried to use natural forms such as bare tree branches and foliage to frame some images and also to add interest to others. Playing creatively with shadows that can only be produced at this time of the day has also come through which I am pleased about.

Technical Approach

When shooting into the early morning light my shutter speed needed to be fast and my ISO low at about 100. I had to be careful not to overexpose some shots as often there was a high contrast in highlights and shadows which needed some thought. Getting down low and using different angles for composition helped me create better composed images where little or no cropping has been necessary.

Selection of Final Images/Final Outcome

I printed out several images and selected some of the stronger ones and grouped them together. I then asked the opinions of family members on others to include. Since this assignment didn’t necessarily have a narrative I tried to keep the theme of “Early Morning” in the final selection. I also tried to produce a different image for each one with no repetition. I think this work would look great in a photo book called “The Early Bird Catches The Worm” This is a magical time of the day when things happen that you won’t see again for the rest of the day, for example, a beautiful golden sunrise over a misty field, the soft glow on yellow leaves in Autumn and a sparkling dew drop on a blade of grass or berry that soon disappears as the sun gets more intense during the day. The images in this photo book would show the magic of this wonderful time of the day.

Selecting images to create a series is still the most challenging part of an assignment – I have added a link here to demonstrate my thinking when editing and selecting for my final ten below


Self Assessment

Based on my tutor’s feedback I have kept it simple this time and concentrated on only one element of creativity. I think the use of natural framing, good composition and shooting into the sunlight has come out well.

I have used a low ISO of 100 and 200 and also used a slow shutter speed in low light to capture the detail in some of the shadowy areas. The high contrast between shadows and light in some instances has had to be considered. I also challenged myself by taking close up shots with shallow depth of field, it was tricky to get the desired subject in focus at times but with practice I managed it.

The language of light is something I am now very aware of as a result of working on this assignment. The quality or early morning or late evening light is important. The work of Sally Mann and Eugene Agtet and how they used light created a certain feel in their imagery, this I have learned is created through the use of light. Light creates mist and fog and this can add to a haunting or eerie feel in an image. Light can highlight a subject and depending on the intensity and direction some very creative effects can result

Future Work

There are cattle in the meadow which would have been nice to capture, I wasn’t successful this time to get good enough photos, I needed a tripod for these shots for a clearer image.

It would be interesting to photograph this same area in the winter with limited foliage, also when it has snowed and how this looks at first light compared to Autumn, perhaps try to capture the same image at different seasons and place them side by side

I would also like to capture different areas in the UK and also cityscapes in the early morning and develop more of the style of Eugene Agtet


Mann, Sally (2015). Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs. Little, Brown

Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. (2019). The Magic of Sally Mann. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Sep. 2019].

Team, T. (2019). An Exclusive Interview with Sally Mann – “The Touch of an Angel” (2010). [online] AMERICAN SUBURB X. Available at: [Accessed 4 Sep. 2019]. (accessed 12 Sep 19) (accessed 12.sep.19) (accessed 12 Sep 19)

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