Beyond cameras, lenses and assorted gear, photography needs one thing: Light. A simple truth: If you don’t have light you don’t get photographs. Learning and mastering light is a life long endeavor for a photographer. How do you harness it? Shape it? Sculpt it?
Seeing the Light: Making the most of Available Light and Minimal Equipment, an ebook by travel photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich, is detailed resource for photographers, explaining the mysteries of light and how to best use it. Kanashkevich is a minimalist. As a travel photographer working in remote locales he uses only what he can carry.
While the minimalist approach has drawbacks, says Kanashkevich in his introduction, “There has always been a tremendous amount of creative opportunities even without artificial light, so when you use something as simple as a reflector in combination with sunlight or a single flash with light from a fire or a light bulb, our creative opportunities multiply.“
Seeing the light has three sections: Flash, Reflector Light, and Natural Light. Each section starts with an explanation of the gear Kanashkevich uses. His flash section gear list includes a flash, a trigger, a softbox, and color gels. Following a brief introduction to flash settings, exposure, and balancing ambient and artificial light, the flash section uses a series of photographs and lighting diagrams to explain using flash with and without ambient light, indoor and outdoors, as well as working with light bulbs and fires.
Kanashkevich photos are amazing. The lighting diagrams and his commentary make short work of explaining the shots, and how and why they were lit. My quibble with the flash section is Kanashkevich’s lack of technical details regarding gels. He talks of warming flashes but doesn’t give specific gel details, ie. names and types of gels. A minor omission, but that information would have been helpful.
The Reflector and Natural Light sections both do a thorough job of explaining lighting techniques and how to sculpt and create three dimensional images with minimal equipment. Kanashkevich knows his stuff: His images are evidence of that.
Seeing the Light is 54 pages of useful information. A novice or intermediate shooter would find this book extremely helpful as they attempt to learn more about lighting. This ebook is a great addition to your photography library.
The ebook is available from Mitchell Kanashkevich’s website (http://learn.mitchellkphotos.com/) for $12 USD. Kanashkevich’s has a second ebook: Understanding Post-processing, which will be reviewed next month by the Phottix Journal.