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Book Review: Chasing The Light: Improving Your Photography With Available Light by Ibarionex Perello

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According to Ibarionex Perello, light is the most transformative tool at any photographer’s disposal. No matter how you use it, or on whatever subject that you use it on, it can be the difference between an ordinary snapshot, and a truly extraordinary photograph.

The goal of Chasing The Light is to show you the elements of exposure, metering, and ISO. It will also show you light impacts color, how to combine ingredients like brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and pattern to create high impact images. Chasing The Light is 272 pages in length and is contained in 12 chapters.

Chapter One, “Beginning to See,” looks at the difference between taking a snapshot and creating an experience. Here you will look at light and learn the three simple questions about the light that you have to ask yourself before you take a shot.

Chapter Two, “The Elements of Exposure,” examines the fact that it is not the equipment that you have that you have that will make you a better photographer, but rather how you use this equipment. Here you will see some simple methods that will help you to master your camera.

Chapter Three, “The Camera, the Exposure, and You,” reflects that the camera is a pretty dumb machine that will take a picture of anything you point it at. It is you who has to be able to prioritize what the camera captures. Here you will learn about anticipation, adjusting to limitations, and more about working with exposures.

Chapter Four, “The Color of Light: White Balance,” takes into consideration the careful evaluation of colors in relation to each other, to the light, and the various elements within the scene. You will learn how to feel color, understand light’s impact on color, and learn about white balance.

Chapter Five, “Building Visually,” looks at how to evaluate the light to build a photograph. By being aware of how light is interacting within the scene, you will be able to create better images. Here you will learn about the five key factors that we respond to visually.

Chapter Six, “Light and the Portrait,” brings out the fact that making a good portrait in natural light is not always easy. Sometimes you need to slow down and force yourself to take in what the light is doing and how it is affecting the scene. By controlling contrasts, working with the sun, the shade, and the different kinds of light, you can really make your photographs sing.

Chapter Seven, “Light and the Small Details” discusses how those details often taken for granted are ones that can provide for some very interesting pictures. Most times it is the light and how it interacts with these objects that make for dramatic shots.

Chapter Eight, “Light and the Natural Landscape,” looks at how light interacts with the world around you. In this chapter you will learn about the magic hour and what it means to your landscape shot, the layering of elements in your image, and how to work with extreme contrast.

Chapter Nine, “Light and the Urban Landscape,” examines the wealth of material for photography, but because there is so much around you, you don’t always see them. Here you will look at light and how it interacts with shadows, graphic elements, the city itself, as well as the night.

Chapter 10, “Light and Black-and-White,” shows that when you eliminate color you magnify the elements of contrast, sharpness, pattern, and brightness. This in turn gives you more ability to control the viewer’s experience. In this chapter you will see how to control the shot and provide emphasis with a number of different techniques.

Chapter 11, “Wrangling the Light,” will show you things that you can do when you almost have enough light. It is in these situations that you have to use some tools to get the best shot possible. Here you will look at natural reflectors, reflectors and scrims, and using flash to control the light.

Chapter 12, “The Transformative Power of Light,” reflects on how learning to see the light, transformed how author was able to capture the images he had in his mind. You will see how by understanding the way that light works, will transform your images as well.

Chasing The Light is well written and easy to understand. The author really focuses on learning about light and staying focused on watching at all times to see how the light changes things. This is a topic that can take a lifetime to refine.

While nothing exempts the need to get out there and practice and refine this skill, Chasing The Light, gives you what you need to pay attention to and then guides you along the way. Chasing The Light can be useful to almost anyone from beginner to seasoned veteran and so I can easily recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Joe Alexander

    I can tell you that I just received my copy and I’m thrilled to say tat it truly is easy to understand, it offers so many valuable tools to help me take much better photos. I also love the photos in his book! I’ve already started using some of his techniques and my photos look fantastic! I can’t recoomend this book enough! Think you Mr.. Perello!