The Perfect Light / by David Veldman

Every now and then, a landscape photographer is blessed with warm, diffuse light. Today was one of those days.

Oddly, the day began poorly. The skies were hazy and flat, and I almost chose to remain at home, but I chose instead to see what I could capture. I set off towards the rapids on the Ottawa River known as Rocher Fendu (Split Rock).

I brought with me my cheap ND filter setup. The colour cast that these filters provoke is absurd, in fact one could say they are almost only useful for black and white - as you will see later.

When I arrived near the river, the light had changed from flat and dull to soft and warm. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I caught sight of late evening sun-rays playing through the forest, and I hurried over to a nearby creek to make the most of it.


Incredibly, I managed to capture a gorgeous sun ray. The light was piercing through a slight fog rising from the water, and I chose to use a very small aperture to blur the waters movement as well. Right away, I knew I had captured a great shot.

Next I headed down to the river proper, where I found a composition I liked, and threw on my ND filters. As I mentioned before, I found that the filters create a heavy colour cast, but I liked the image enough to convert it to black and white and keep it. It also isn't very sharp, but sharpness is no measure of a good photo.

At this point I needed to head home for errands, and I was quite satisfied that I had managed to capture one or two decent shots. Little did I know, that I would continue to catch a couple more photos on the way home.

I have passed by the house below a few times before. I liked the way it looked, but the time of year was wrong more than once, and the light did not always cooperate. Tonight, all the elements lined up perfectly to create a stunning shot.

At this point, I REALLY needed to get home. I drove quickly along the back roads, but to my amazement the light continued to improve, lighting up a few straggling clouds in a glorious way. Just before I jumped onto the main highway I spotted one last composition, and I doubled back quickly in the RAV to capture it. I also took this image in landscape orientation, but ultimately chose the portrait version I snapped, with the assistance of Maceys input.


I am generally happy if I capture 1 good shot on an outing. Tonight, I managed to capture several, including at least 2 that I want to print. Once again, I'm reminded that it's all about the light!


Happy Canada day!