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The quality of light in New Mexico


From:

Travel Photography: The Family Cabin

with Ben Long

Video: The quality of light in New Mexico

As a photographer, kind of the first thing I think about when I think I'm going to New Mexico is oh boy, New Mexico light. The, the light in New Mexico is not like light in other places. I live in San Francisco, and the bay area light can be really beautiful. It's a really scalding, white light. Here it's different, it's a slightly warmer light but there's a contrast thing here that happens. That I just don't see other places because I'm sure it's a combination of the altitude and the really dry air. It's just spectacular and it's something that I really associate with New Mexico.
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Watch the Online Video Course Travel Photography: The Family Cabin
56m 50s Intermediate Mar 14, 2014

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Do you and your family have a favorite travel destination that you've always gone to for rest and relaxation? Or did you grow up with fond memories of family getaways like these? Maybe you're starting the tradition with your own kids. These places become touchstones in our lives, filled with memories and impressions that grow and change as the years go by.

There are several layers to photographing trips to memorable destinations: you want to capture accurate depictions of the place and its surroundings, but you also want your photos to convey the notions of tradition and the passing of time. In this course, author and photographer Ben Long visits his family's New Mexico cabin. He shows how to create photos that not only capture the essence of the place and its surroundings, but also convey its significance as the backdrop for shared family experiences and traditions. Along the way, he shows how to recreate old photos to capture what has changed, shoot details that haven't been documented before, and explore the surrounding area, to capture the full essence of the place.

Subject:
Photography
Author:
Ben Long

The quality of light in New Mexico

As a photographer, kind of the first thing I think about when I think I'm going to New Mexico is oh boy, New Mexico light. The, the light in New Mexico is not like light in other places. I live in San Francisco, and the bay area light can be really beautiful. It's a really scalding, white light. Here it's different, it's a slightly warmer light but there's a contrast thing here that happens. That I just don't see other places because I'm sure it's a combination of the altitude and the really dry air. It's just spectacular and it's something that I really associate with New Mexico.

When I think of New Mexico, kind of even more than green chillies, I think about the light and I can't really say that I'm going to go our and record a particular kind of light that's going to record any memories or anything like that. But, the light here is a really important part of my association with it and, and what I think of about the place. So, I do want to just spend some time doing what I always do here and just shooting the beautiful light. I can the great thing is now I've got this great rationalization for going out and doing it, you know, I can say to my mom no mom I can't stay and do this right now.

I'm going to go shoot the New Mexico light, because I really need to. It's not just the light on the landscape. The light here interacts with a lot of the textures of the Adobe, and in particular ways. So, going into Santa Fe and shooting light is a thing, going out to the ruins is, there are more archeological sites per square mile in northern New Mexico than anywhere else in the country. And some, there's some that I really like, and going to those and really working the lighting there. Even hanging out around outside the cabin and, and shooting little detail things with the light. Maybe doing some macro work and that kind of stuff. It's worth spending some time with that.

Now. That's an association, a kind of abstract association of a quality of this place that I have. You might have your own. You might love the smell of a place or the sound of a place or sometning like that. Obviously I can't take pictures of a smell but I can take a picture of the source of a smell or the source of a sound or a place that I really associate with. Hearing the sound of the rushing water, and things like that. So don't just look for the literal, specific physical things in a place. Look for the impressionistic things in a place that you experience while you're there that are really important to you, and find a way of translating those into images that will have meaning for you.

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