The Nuance of Ambient

If you have been following my blog and website, you know I am a pretty lighting intense photographer.  I almost always add light to the scene, and sometimes a lot of light.  Usually ambient light is beyond the dynamic range of my camera, especially with direct sunlight, so I have to balance the scene.   Also, ambient interior light is usually flat, so it needs to be spruced up.  However, sometimes, ambient light can be just right. 

This was the case for a detail on a recent kitchen project.  When it came to capture the cabinet in the pantry, the light was perfect. 

At the time, perfect meant the dynamic range was close to what my camera could record.  We did have exterior views, but it was mainly of trees, so nothing was too far over.  So we framed the image, added one dimly lit strip box for fill and concentrated on the staging. 

However it was not until I got back to the studio that I started to notice the nuances that produced so much depth.

Pendant lights

For instance the cool strip of light just left of the cabinet with a bit of green at the top.  Another was the dim orange reflections of the ceiling light, or the coolness of the reflected sunlight from the right.  Last, the warmth of the hanging pendants, separating the right sliver of the image. 

Now if you wanted to, this overall light density could be recreated in studio, but to add these nuances of color, most would not think of, let along know how to pull it off. 

Ambient does not always work well, but when it does, it can be quite magical.