Although most photographers prefer overcast light when photographing forest scenes, in this video pro nature photographer Ian Plant discusses his preference for shooting in the mixed light that results when strong sunlight filters through the forest canopy. Ian shares his strategies for effectively using mixed light in the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest, especially using backlighting in the early morning or late evening.
To learn more about working with natural light, check out Ian Plant’s eBook, Chasing the Light.
I don’t know why you call this mixed light. Hard light or harsh light, single source, the sun. If you were using any combination of sun, strobe, incandescent, candle or any other light source would be mixed lighting.
Hi Ian, what forest photos! Why did you use a polarizer? I’m still learning when to use them and have mainly seen used in waterfall shots.
Ian is not available at this time.
As with any photographic tool there are no rules when to use a polarizer or not use one. The answer may be as simple as you want to see what the image will look like when it is applied. Depending on many variables polarizers can add contrast and saturation to a file, so if you have the time to try one you may find it benefits the image.
As with most filters it is worthwhile to note that when you place it on your lens the effect gets baked into the image and the effects may be difficult to remediate in post production if you have second thoughts, so it’s typically worthwhile to shoot both with and without a filter depending on your goals.
Also as you become skilled using image editing software you will learn how to digitally replicate the effects of many popular filters.
Outdoor Photography Guide