Yesterday morning I went for the most beautiful, morning walk before church. The sun was shining in full glory, and you could already feel the temperature rising to the mid 70′s. It’s insane weather for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest! Our neighbor was telling me how last year we didn’t break 70 degrees until August! Unsure of how long the sun will last, I had to take photos of the morning sun and cherry blossom trees! I had a blast experimenting with the morning light, and wanted to walk you through my process of capturing this photo.
Below is a fun, easy photo recipe to try with your iPhone! All the photos, except for the final, are unedited so you can see my process of finding the story I wanted to capture. Enjoy!!
WHEN: If you wake up and the sun is already shining, grab your iPhone (or really any camera) and head out for a morning walk.
PREP: Find a beautiful tree that is showing signs of Spring–leaves bursting through, cherry blossoms blooming, you name it. Notice the different details of single branches. What strikes you the most? Is it the color, the texture, the movement of a new leaf pushing through?
COMPOSE: Fill your frame with what strikes you most, and take a few photos. Then, take a look? Do you like what you got?
I liked this okay, but I wanted more.
Let’s add in more drama. Light is what gives us drama. Position yourself so you can get the sun in your frame.
Play with Direct Light! Point your iPhone up at a single branch, so the sun is shining straight into the frame. Slowly move your iPhone around and notice how the sun gets more distinct when it’s shining from behind a branch. If nothing is blocking the sun, notice how there is a white blob in your frame instead of a ball of light with rays. There are some definite rays that we can see, but the sun is also taking over the photo’s story. What if we used the branches to give the sun even more definition by just taking a half step to the left or right.
I like this one below much more. When we use branches to block the sun’s light, the sun takes on more detail, shape and becomes an accent to the story rather than a distraction.
Subtly move your iPhone so the sun comes into your frame even more and then move the frame so the sun is less in the frame. Think about how much light you want in the frame. The morning sun can be so intense that if you have to much in the frame, it can look like a white blob. Give this white blob, the morning sun, shape in your story by only allowing part of it to be in the frame.
I liked the last photo, but I still wanted more diversity in the photo’s story. That’s when I decided to add the blue sky.
CAPTURE. Let’s add the blue sky. Zoom in or step closer to a single branch and break your frame into thirds. Fill the far left third and even the middle of your frame with cherry blossom branches. Instead of having cluttered branches like the photos above, leave empty space so we can see the blue sky. Fill the right third with a sun that is partially blocked by how you frame it. Experiment with different branches to focus on and shoot away! The horizontal frame became my final choice because it felt like the branches stretched across the sky and kept going and going and going.
When I looked at this, my spirit smiled. This was the story I wanted to tell. I especially love how you can see the silhouettes of different leaves. The sun is big in the far third, but for me, it doesn’t take over the photo’s story because the pinks, blues, shadows and all the textures play such a big role too.
I uploaded this to Instragram yesterday morning and appreciate ALL your comments! If you aren’t following me on Instagram, it’s merakoh (all one word and lower case). I would be honored!
Have fun with this photo recipe! Play with the degree of light you want and don’t want. I edited this last one with Instagram, and I would LOVE to see yours too! Post them to my Facebook page!
May you all have a wonderful Monday and be given a window of time to go for a walk in the sun!