Celebrating the Fourth of July

I did two things last weekend that I usually try to avoid: I went out shooting pictures in the midday sun and I wandered down to the National Mall on the Fourth of July.

An overhead sun creates harsh light and nasty shadows. Who doesn’t prefer the soft glow of late afternoon? Still, avoiding photography during eight hours of the day seems silly. On the other hand, avoiding the National Mall in the middle of a sweltering DC summer makes perfect sense, especially if you don’t like crowds (which I don’t).

However, this year, I decided to take control of my fears. It also didn’t hurt that the weather in DC last weekend was near perfect — relatively cool with no humidity. Still, there was the matter of the sun. But when the harsh, midday sun gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I took several portraits of strangers and I was happy how most of them turned out. In many cases, I stalked out an area of a sidewalk in the shade where I could stop people who looked interesting. In other cases, where there was no shade available, I had to resort to using Lightroom tools to lighten up some of the shadows.

In the photo above, I saw this woman in a tent at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. And in this case, I used the light as natural back lighting to add depth to the portrait and to accentuate her face. She was perspiring because she had been dancing, not because it was hot out.

Featured image by Joe Newman.

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

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