#666. Let there be Light, to begin beastly projects.

By pascaljappy | News

Nov 11

Our last triple digit post (#555. A Force for positive change) was a success. In it, we argued that a community was stronger than the sum of its parts and that most of you reading DS were better at something photographic than most other people. We asked you to recognize that fact and join forces with us by contributing occasional articles. And you have. 9 months later, our little group of regulars has grown to 9 and I’d like to thank all of these people taking the time to share thoughts and photographs with the rest of the world, expose themselves, create new stuff, reply to comments! Thanks guys, really! (as much as I’d love to thank guys and gals, the gals – sadly – still shy away from us).



And now, here comes #666. An ominous number and some of you may have been expecting a beast of a post 😉 But no, I’m just gonna dig deeper into your good will and ask you for more. Maybe I’m the beast. But sharing and doing stuff collaboratively is just how I see the world and live my life. As a freelance marketer working from home, much of it should involve flying solo but, as pardner Philippe and others can tell you, I prefer to work in packs.



So is #666 just #555, redux ? Nope.

Yes, we are still open to new authors. And if you feel like you’ve missed out on the opportunity to show the world your ideas, you are still most welcome to do so in the protected environment that is DearSusan. Just drop us a line on the contact form at top right.

But this is about something else. Both less and more. I’d like us to work collaboratively on a number of projects, yours, mine … DS team members and willing readers together.  It’s both less of a commitment on the reader’s part (than becoming a contributor) and more of a help to the rest of the community. It’s nothing really new, but can provide a lot of value for all involved. So here’s the deal :

  1. We’ll regularly publish requests for contributions on certain topics and set a completion date.
  2. You can send in whatever you have that you feel provides a contribution to the subject. Regular progress updates will be inserted in our Monday Posts.
  3. The completed project will be published soon after the end date with author names linked to their contributions. After that, the pack gets dissolved and new ones form around other projects.

Financial note : This is a free website with absolutely no advertising or affiliate links, so there is no money attached to the help provided and no financial interest in it for DS when the project is published (in fact, more traffic costs us more hosting expenses). View this as an opportunity to express yourself, join forces with new people, change the world a tiny fraction, and help others.

How does that sound ? Simple, stimulating and fun, I’m hoping.



Now, let’s make it real. Here’s Project Number 1: Let there be Light.

We’ve recently published articles on composition and a couple more will follow to complete this. A second vital aspect of photography is understanding the quality of light (and my next two articles are devoted to examples of this).

And, although strict adhesion to scripture would indicate 666 is the Number of the Beast, spiritual dilettantes should also accept a Number of Lucifer variant. So, Let There Be Light is a fitting title for this first DS collaborative work.



There are a number of good books on colour theory and light / lighting out there. But few people read books, these days.

There are also a number of rubbish articles on the same subjects online. Let’s change this together. Let’s tackle the subject differently, from a different perspective.



In this project, what I’m interested in is to produce a series of actionable articles on how to best use ambient light in photography. As usual on DS, the focus is on using what’s available, not bringing your studio to the streets. But a flash can fit in a bag, so that’s definitely allowed.

Contributions can take a number of forms :

  • Photographs such as those on this page, where the quality of the ambient light plays a large role in the mood, aesthetics and impact of the final photograph
  • Thoughts, tutorial, and resources on light quality
  • PP tips to best reveal the quality of light in a photograph
  • Project structure propositions
  • Help to organise all the contributions into a meaningful whole
  • Help to share the project online when published
  • Any other idea you might want to suggest (about this project or about new project ideas)
  • References of great books on the topic, links to great outside articles or resources
  • Access to specialists and experts, such as David Hobby, a.k.a. The Strobist, who would be willing to contribute some knowledge
  • Basically, anything you can think of that can provide value. We’ll find a way of organising all of it together.



Why do this ?

Hopefully, to help youngsters produce crackers such as Paul’s, below. There’s a deep personal satisfaction to that sort of achievement that goes well beyond money and shallow social likes. If you/I/we can help that happen, trust me, it’s worth it. The satisfaction is shared by the enablers.

Also, because I have very strong political views. Or, rather, anti-political views.



The Ukraine, Brexit, Catalunya, China’s attacks on Internet infrastructures, the Mexican border wall, conflicts all over Africa … you’d have to be living in cave not to realise that divides, all over the world, that many devoted (or laid down) their lives to bring down are now being rebuilt by a handful of manipulative (or dumb) ‘leaders’. Now’s a really good time to make friends across borders, get to know other people and the way they think, try to understand their point of view and create something worthy together. Particularly something that fosters creativity, personal growth and art. Something as removed as possible from the animal desires of our lizard-brain rulers.



So yeah, maybe this 666 is the number of the beast. But the mighty beast within each one of you and the roaring beast of goodwill that can be unleashed if we get together.



So bring it on! Where are your photographs (wetransfer to pascal dot jappy at gmail dot com is great, we like 1500px long dimension jpegs)? What are your thoughts on light (contact form at top right, comments below)? How do you want this project to unfold? What specific experience have you had that relates to superb light? If you were the end-user, how would you like this to be structured? How can you help the project along? How can you help spread the word to more contributors and more users?

This thing goes live Dec 15th 2017! Let’s make it the best possible resource for others and a great experience for us. Tic Toc … Whatcha gonna do about it?

Are you able to guide a youngling on a very specific topic? Do you have a photo to share that can illustrate an interesting point? Can you help a seasoned natural light veteran see artificial lighting in a different … light? Do you have expertise in the field of vision? Are you an expert in the theories of learning? Do you have organisational skills? Would you like to contribute a fun memory or a tiny experiment? The beauty with a group is that no one has to do any heavy lifting for the global result to be spectacular.

It just takes a first step to make yourself proud. Why not take it now? Right now?


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Hmm – I have heaps of half baked ideas for articles.

    Example – just fired off three shots this morning, that provide a theme to demonstrate the importance of using your feet, in photography – because in the end, there WAS only one right place to take the photo.

    Then there is the stream of stuff all taken within a hundred metres of my front door, all in my own street. It started as a study of light – the same subject, under different conditions. It kind of exploded. There’s a theory out there, and I seem to recall seeing it someone in DearSusan, that we only take photos when we are AWAY from home. This set of pictures blows that theory to smithereens – it’s all in the head, in your imagination, and these photos prove it.

    And now you bring up one of my favourites – the study of light. OMG – I’ll run out of ink, before I catch up with it all. 🙂

    As if that’s not bad enough, there’s post processing to discuss. After this morning’s shoot, and before I found your post, Pascal, I was fooling around on the MAC, trying different software programs to post process the same photo. Hmm – this is going to requires some serious work – the differences I found already are quite startling.

    And hands up everyone in the group, who’s just gone out and bought a brand new Fuji/Leica/Olympus/D850/A7RIII. Then explain what it’s done for your for photography.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Pete, send the heaps our way, we’ll assemble the lot and complete with other contributions 🙂

      I love the idea of a “Close to home project”. I was the one who rose that point on DS and really think it is an important subject for those trying to make progress who don’t have access to exotic locations.

      As for the GAS … 😉 We all have it but, so far, to my knowledge, no one here has taken the plunge for any of these cameras yet. Temptation is high in my case, as I’m hoping the pixel-shift in the A7r3 will essentially create a bayer-free sensor so that I can use coloured filters on the camera as in the good old days of b&w film 🙂 Naive me ?

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Not to sure about the bayer shift & coloured filters – I’m sure you could find a way of trying before you buy, or chat to someone who has an A7r3 first, to see if they can try it for you. It’s a lot of money, if you aren’t sure it’ll work. Latest “review” (test run, with heaps of shots) that I’ve seen rates the A7r3 as “almost as good” as the record breaking D850. And while it might be fun for me to have the D850, I’m not crawling over hot coals or broken glass, to buy one; simply because the D810 is superb, and how much difference – seriously – can “better” make to that?
        In an ideal world, we all could have bought our perfect camera to start with – but there IS no “perfect” camera and never will be. While it’s none of my business what any of you do with your money, I really feel a lot of the talk reeks of GAS rather than common sense. Perish the thought that art should be restrained by common sense – but I do feel that the money could be better spent on other gear, to give a much higher yield in terms of pleasure, flexibility and creativity.
        Found something else these past few days – been running tests of LR vs Capture One Pro vs On1 vs ACDsee – it’s been quite interesting. Truthfully, I am finding Capture One Pro easier to use than LR, However ease of use isn’t the object – it’s nice to have, but image quality is paramount. And Capture One Pro has noise issues that I don’t get with any of the others. However, I think LR “cheats” – there are ways of getting rid of noise, that lead to a smooth image – one that turns sort of milky, if you take it too far – and I think that’s being used in LR somehow, outside our direct control, to make sure it gets rid of noise before we start getting upset about it. Unfortunately, it’s over the boundary, and the image in LR was – in my test – over the line, and slightly too milky. The surprise for me was that the best image I got was with ACDsee.
        Still working on that – won’t finalise my views yet, so I’ll start work on one or two other draft articles for your consideration.

  • Adrian says:

    Pascal, I’m more than happy to offer some contribution to “light” in the context of my portrait photography. I use available light when I like it’s “quality”, as it can be quicker and less hassle than setting up artificial light, but also use portable flash to dictate a “quality”.

    As someone who doens’t really photograph classic landscapes, and generally photographs during travel, I often have to use what I’m given. I will give it some thought.

  • I recently invested some time into quality of light evaluation. I could write my very subjective thoughts down and see how far we get with that.

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