The Wonders of Diffuse Light

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More than perhaps anything else, TPE is about the directionality of light. Angles of sunrise and sunset, or the position of the moon during twilight – TPE is used by the photographer to understand the relationship of natural light sources to his or her subject.

There are, however, times when directionality of light is exactly not what you want as a photographer.

Today was one of those cases. We visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park. These magnificent trees are perhaps best photographed (a) in winter, with snow, and (b) on a cloudy day. We were lucky enough to have both.

Mariposa 1

With plenty of cloud about, the light was diffuse, even during the middle of the day when these photographs were taken, providing soft, balanced light that allowed every detail of the trees, moss, snow and ice to be captured. With direct sun on the trees, it would have been far harder to achieve an end result that avoided the extremes of light and shade.

Mariposa 2