Lens-Artists Challenge #166 – Artificial Light

pole fishing, China, floating
Night Fishing, China

“Drama is increased with the shadows of artificial light. They can invite us to imagine what is hidden.”

Michael Kenna

This week Ann-Christine invites us to share the effects of artificial light and shows us in her post how very beautiful it can be. I’ve opened with an image of night fishing which we experienced during our visit to China. Both the image above and the one that follows captured cormorant fishermen on the Li River, lit only by their small lanterns. I’ve also chosen to take an impressionist approach to this week’s images using Topaz software to create an artistic effect.

At work on the Li River, China

“Photography! Acquiring the knowledge and tools to express your artistic vision.”

Wayne Paulo

There is much beauty to be found when natural light and that which we have created to augment it come together in harmony. Such was my feeling about the image that follows. As the full moon lit the town of Guilin from above, the artificial light of the windows and their reflections created a scene any artist would love. I found it completely enchanting. If I were a painter, this is a scene I would love to recreate.

Nightfall, full moon, city lights
Nightfall, Full Moon

“Just as I work with paint, brushes and canvas, I work with the light.”

Man Ray

Although China offered amazing opportunities for evening photography, several of our other journeys provided equally wonderful night vistas enhanced by artificial light. The scene below for example was captured from our hotel room during a long-ago visit to Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik, evening, artistic
Evening lights, Dubrovnik

“Photography…brings to science what it needs most, the artistic sense.”

Ernst Haas

Also captured from our lodging window, the beautifully lit waterfront of Vancouver, Canada.

canada, nighttime, tents, waterfront
Oh, Canada

“I am a painter who was too impatient to paint, and therefore became a photographer.”

Ernst Haas

Sadly I must agree with Mr. Haas – although my issue is not impatience – rather it is an inability to translate my vision onto canvas using paint and paper. I’ve found that photography gives me an artistic outlet and allows me to “paint” the world as I see and/or imagine it.

Stained Glass, Israel

“I subjugate the real situation to my artistic concept of the picture.”

Andreas Gurkst

Around the world, throughout my many travels, I’ve encountered examples of beautiful light, created by nature or by humankind (better yet, by both), and presenting an opportunity to translate the scene through my lens. I’ll close with a simple scene we encountered while visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It struck me as a vision a painter might have created as a wonderful still life.

Ready for Prayer

“Photography freed the hand of the most artistic functions, that henceforth devolved only upon the eye looking into the lens.”

Walter Benjamin

Many thanks to those who responded to Patti’s Going Wide challenge last week. For me it was an eye-opener to see how effectively a wide vista can be created using so many different approaches. As the owner of a brand new I-phone 12 pro max (hurrah – long overdue !!) I’m looking forward to trying some of your suggested techniques.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my interpretations of the beauty to be found in the interplay between natural and artificial light. I look forward to seeing your responses to Ann-Christine’s challenge. (Although she states that candlelight is not artificial, I loved the scene above enough to break that rule!) Be sure to link to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

We hope you’ll join us next week when Amy once again leads us on her Share and Connect site. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.


95 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #166 – Artificial Light

  1. Oh Canada indeed 🙂 I always love these painterly photos (and always feel I should put my brushes away after seeing them). I particularly love those stained glass windows in Israel. Where were these? Did you get to see the Chagall stained glass windows at the Hadassah Hospital?

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  4. Hi Tina

    Your masthead image for this challenge is amazing – so vibrant and alive with light! All of your other selections have a very painterly vibe which I really really like. The stained glass from Israel is especially shimmery. Well done.

    Here’s my offering with Mute Swans and artificial light, but not in the same photo:

    Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem

    Best, Babsje

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  7. What a marvelous post! Of course, your basic images were excellent, I suspect, but with the Topaz software they became true works of art. So glad you captured rich colors in contrast to the darkness in some of them. I’m drawn to the fishermen, for sure, but all are quite exquisite. No need to take up painting, Tina. You’ve got something quite special in these entries.

    • Thanks very much Rusha – interesting you pointed out the color contrast vs darkness – exactly what I was trying for. I wanted to maintain the sense of serious darkness which I remember from that night but the colors seen in spite of it were really enchanting.

  8. Lovely choices for the challenge, Tina. I love your impressionist interpretation, too. The stained glass and scene from Dubrovnik are my favorites this week, as well as the Canada Place shot and your final shot in Cambodia. Just beautiful and artistic. It is interesting how we both approached the same location differently. Now that could be an interesting challenge if we were all located in the same place!! Like you, I wish I could paint, but recognize my lack of talent in that area. Photography is a wonderful artistic outlet, thankfully!

    • I suspect we may be in the majority on that art issue Patti – but thank goodness indeed that we’ve found an alternative artistic endeavor. You’re so right, if we were closer together it would be a really fun project to shoot the same location differently. In fact, I’m going to suggest it for our photo club. Will let you know if we try it!

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  10. I love that you used the impressionistic effect on these images. They’re beautiful. I don’t have Topaz but I play around with Corel Painter effects now and then and the possibilities are endless.

  11. I knew you would use the impressionistic touch! So lovely and perfect for the challenge. I must say, using candle light in the last one – forbidden – but, that is the most beautiful image to my eyes. Maybe also because I am a nature lover and generally always do nature photography. And, because that image is close to something I have seen in real life. Gorgeously calm and meditative, soft and harmonious – that would never have been possible with artificial light.

  12. did WP decreased the image quality or did you use a kind of painting filter for your images? I like the first one. I’ve never been to China, but I know about that fishing tradition with a cormorant. I also love the stained glass image, although I won’t count them as artificial light. On the other hand, it’s not natural. So you’re right. Great choice, as usual.

  13. I found it interesting to look closer at your art. It is fun to realize they are real places that we can feel maybe a little theatrical towards.

    I can appreciate the quote by Haas. I too would love to paint, and yet as we move along with are cameras, painting this world “real” is quite a feat too. Always a pleasure Tina. Creative take this week. Donna

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  15. Stunning images as always, Tina! I love the impressionism images and they really show off the artificial lighting in such a unique way. The nightfall shot with the moon is my favorite as it makes me feel like I’ve seen something like this before IRL. Very cool! Like you, I agree this would be hard to translate into paint and canvas

    • Many thanks Amy – that last one was a lucky encounter in a small corner within the massive Angkor Wat temple. It was temporarily set up by two Buddhists for prayer and would have been gone within an hour or two of my visit.

  16. These are stunningly beautiful images. I’ve never seen anything like this artistic interpretation. I couldn’t take my eyes from them. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thanks El – not sure I believe you re “seeing” but I appreciate your saying it. I wouldn’t think of trying to engineer my own home myself so I guess we all have our own strengths and weaknesses LOL

  17. I have a jealousy of artists who paint with a brush. They have a vision and a skill to translate their vision into their form of reality.
    It is also true of photographers, but fortunately for me, since I lack the hand/eye coordination to make those kind of transfers to two dimensions, I can at least have a tool for expression that suits my abilities.
    Obviously, you have mastered the tools in your images. Visual art is light and composition, no matter the medium. I especially like your opening image.

  18. Tina, your images always make me feel like I am there in the places you photograph. These images are so enchanting in their night light.

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