Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light
Ibarionex Perello is a freelance photographer based in Los Angeles, a writer, a podcaster and now author. His book, published in late 2011 is titled, Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light. For the past five years Perello has hosted a podcast called, The Candid Frame (Available as a free download at iTunes.). I stumbled upon The Candid Frame a year or so ago. There are dozens of photo podcasts on iTunes, but The Candid Frame is one of the best. Now, I eagerly await each installment as I work my way through the three-year backlog. Each podcast is an interview and conversation between Perello and one photographer. It doesn’t matter if the photographer is well-known or someone still working to be discovered, Perello asks intelligent, well thought out questions. For his effort Perello gets interesting responses in return. The podcast is well worth subscribing to. But I digress. This is not a review of the podcast; it is about Perello’s book.
At about the same time I began thinking about writing this blog, Perello, in one of his podcasts, mentioned his book, Chasing the Light. Through the podcast I felt I knew Perello’s photographic interests and style and I believed the book would be to my liking. I was not disappointed.
This is not a “how-to” book that tells you where to set your shutter or aperture. The first sentence in the book reads, “Each time I venture out with my camera, I’m filled with a sense of hope.” Perello goes on to talk about how it was only after he learned to see light as it affected his subject and his mood, did his photography become what he hoped it could be. “Start by asking yourself three questions,” he writes, “Where is the light coming from? What is the quality of light? How much light do I have to work with?” He answers these questions and more in an easy to comprehend style.
Do not shy away from this book if you are new to digital photography or think that a book length discussion on seeing light is not what you are looking for. Perello provides basic camera exposure and metering information geared toward beginner and experienced photographers alike. All written with his eye on the light and how it affects your images.
The heart of his message was for me, Perello’s explanation of the way brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and pattern (He refers to them as the Five Visual Draws.) consistently affects how we are drawn to an image. Through the rest of the book, Perello tells and shows with his own excellent photos how the five visual draws are weaved into images of landscapes, cities and people; in color or black and white; and with subjects that are obvious and subjects that become obvious when you learn to see the light.
As photographer and author, Rob Sheppard writes in the Forward of the book, “Ibarionex’s joy in photography comes through, too, in both the text and the photos. These are positive photos that make you feel good about the world we live in.”
At the end of each The Candid Frame podcast, Perello asks his guest to recommend a one photographer who has been a personal influence and that the audience should know about. I have listened to many Candid Frame podcasts. Every time I hear the question I ask myself, who would I chose if I were interviewed by Perello. After reading Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light I have my answer.
I recommend Ibarionex Perello.
January 23, 2012