Just like you don’t need a license or to have studied Photography at Uni to be a great Photographer, you also don’t need to use filters such as a Polarising filter, or a Neutral Density filter to get great shots.

It’s all about the light

The shot below was taken late in the evening without the use of a filter. Sometimes filters can actually harm a shot by blocking out too much light and making it appear dull and lifeless.

“Evening Light”
Lighthouse Beach
Sugarloaf Point
Seal Rocks NSW

Seal Rocks NSW

With the shot above, I really wanted to capture the ray’s of light beaming down over the mountains. If they weren’t there this shot would look a little less interesting.

Blueys Beach Pacific Palms NSW

I waited until the sun peeked through the light cloud, highlighting the far mountains and beach. Without this light the shot would look dull and lifeless.

Lighthouse Beach Seal Rocks NSW

Taken in the afternoon, notice the contrast between the shadows and highlights.

This image has life.

Without this contrast and light the shot would be dull and lifeless.

The use of a Neutral Density or Polarising Filter would also have dulled the image somewhat as well.

There is a time and a place for filters, but you don’t need to use them all the time.

You can train your mind to see this light and not just the picture, this is what makes the difference between an ordinary image and a great one.

Reflections, highlight, contrast and shadows, they all contribute to the final image.

Sometimes I see images taken with ND filters that have no shadows and no highlights, they look dull and lifeless. We don’t want to see everything in the picture.

There needs to be that element of surprise, of certain parts of the image hidden from view so as to capture your imagination and leave you wondering, this is where shadows and highlights come into play.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated and delighted at the way light plays and bounces off objects and nature. 

Wherever I am, I don’t see pictures, I see light. It’s how I look at the world.

Another misconception is all great photographs are taken in the early morning and late evening hours. This is a myth. Colours are stronger and highly saturated in the middle of day making for great contrast, and you need the sun’s rays to bring out the strongest colours. Great shots can be taken in the middle of the day. Early morning shots are softer in colour while late evening shots are more saturated in colour and have more contrast with a warm glow.

Most of my photography is done in the middle of the day and occasionally those early mornings and late evenings. Try to utilise all hours of the day in photography.

Doing so will give you a more heightened and experienced view of how light affects  photography and your images.

To see more images from this trip check out my Gallery page under

North Coast NSW.




18 thoughts on “ Embracing Light ”

  1. This is great information Karen! The only lens I use a filtre on is the Prime. A good lens hood and paying attention to what I’m looking at seems to help.

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  2. True, it’s all about understanding light. It’s hard to explain this, as it is almost instinctive to me. Yet, the more we are photographing, the better we actually understand the subtleties of the light and know how to react to it. Beautiful images Karen.

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    1. I’m actually having a bit of trouble replying with to peoples comments on wordpress at the moment, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sorry about the weird commentary.

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