Gecko in Morocco

The Power of Reflected Light

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The other day, I wrote about shooting on overcast days… and I do love a good cloud layer for macro photography. But I have to admit that I love just about any skies when I’m shooting – even bright, harsh midday light, when there’s not a cloud in the sky. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the sky is perfect – I can always find something to shoot. It comes down to understanding how my camera interprets light, and getting creative with the conditions I have. When the skies are bright and clear, I just have to approach photography a little differently than I would if I were working during the golden hour or on an overcast day.

I took this shot in Morocco, while hiking with my brother near Ouzoud Falls in Azilal. This pretty little creature hung effortlessly from the rock – upside down and completely still. He saw us before we saw him, and we almost missed him because of his perfect camouflage. In that moment, the light was perfect. Bright sunlight hit the rocky surfaces all around us, and then bounced and scattered into every crack and groove. This gecko’s little body – and his sheltered overhang – caught that reflected light, enhancing the details and producing a soft glow. I didn’t need a reflector or a diffuser for this photograph – the overhang blocked direct sunlight, and the ground acted as a perfect reflector. In fact, it was a quick and easy shot. I set up my Induro Tripod quickly and mounted my camera and lens. My 180mm macro let me stay back from my subject so I wouldn’t scare him away, while still filling the frame and getting the details I wanted.

Tips for shooting in bright sunlight:

  • Look for small subjects, shady areas, and reflected light.
  • Use a macro lens or shoot details when the light is harsh – you can control the light in a small area.
  • Use a diffuser to soften harsh, direct light.
  • Use a reflector to bounce reflected light onto your subject to reduce dark shadows and bring out rich details.

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.


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