Photo Critique – Mysteries of Light

by Al Hannigan on July 24, 2006

This photo critique is of one of my own favorites … and it demonstrates one of the strange mysteries of light.

Emilie and Aly

Alyson and Mom

One of the difficulties encountered when shooting into the light is lens flare, that nasty effect caused by reflections on the glass of the lens.

Usually it is something we try to avoid. But sometimes it transforms a pleasant snapshot into something more unique.

The formation of the cross like flare that appears to be floating in a bubble in this image was one of those accidents … a strange mystery of light that in this instance adds a great deal of interest to this photo.

For those who might be thinking this was a manipulation ala’ photoshop, I can only say that you would be mistaken. The original image is a 35mm slide, taken with a Nikon SLR and a 105mm lens.

This image did go into photoshop prior to appearing here where I cropped it, adjusted the contrast somewhat and did some normal burning and dodging.

It is nearly impossible for me to objectively critique this photo, since it is of my daughter and her mom … now what parent wouldn’t think all pictures of his family are masterpieces!

However, objectivity aside, I feel quite sure I would like this photograph even if it were not mine and I didn’t know the 2 ladies in it. Even though the mysterious cross is interesting, I do think it detracts some from the main reason I took the photo.

I love the way the sun outlines their faces against the darker background and even though the details are minimal the obvious joy and love between mother and child is still evident.

It’s a beautiful evening with the sun setting over the water, yet mother and child hardly even notice as they are … oh well, it is useless … I can’t be even a little bit objective here so I won’t try.

Maybe someone else will see it and decide to comment on it from a more objective photographer’s point of view.

As for me … it is just a joy to look at it.

Relative Tags: , , , ,



1 Paul Darcy July 25, 2006 at 10:58 am

I am not a religious man, but that bubble and cross of light immediately had me thinking of a guardian angel . . .

And it really is a fantastic picture – I would one day like to see the original.

And when it comes to family, you are right, what bad pictures?

2 Nat September 30, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Love this photo Al, but I have a question? Did you use any filters to shoot into the sun? I’ve read hundreds of articles about polar, uv filters etc. But my own pictures seem better off without filters. In your photo, which is adorable, the the way, It seems like you saw an opportunity for a memorable shot and took it. Rather than having time to set up or make a filter decision.

3 Melissa September 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm

This is beautiful!
I grew up on the lake in North Alabama and this photograph, especially the early evening light, is very reminiscent.

4 Al Hannigan September 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Melissa … we lived in Atlanta when I took this. I forget just where this was located, but we might have been in or near North Alabama.

5 Crystal Kepple April 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm

When I first saw this photo I couldn’t take my eyes off of the little cross in the bubble. As part of the whole, it makes an interesting story, no matter whose interpretation. I also tried looking at the photo without the flare. The faces of mother and daughter almost form a heart. The picture is strong either way.

6 Al Hannigan April 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Thank you, Crystal … I’d never really noticed how their faces almost form a heart, but now that you’ve pointed it out it seems so obvious.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: