Ahead of the shortest day of the year, December 21st, celebrated UK photographer Andrew Whyte has captured images and curated a step-by-step guide on how to capture stunning seasonal light. The photography series was taken on the streets of London, featuring iconic London scenery including Tower Bridge, as well as the street markets of East London.
Capturing light in the darkest days of the year can be a challenge. For those seeking to achieve bokeh winter photography, Andrew Whyte, who specialises in night-time photography and captured the images using Sony a9, paired with the awesome Sony 100mm f/2.8 G Master lens, has the following advice and tips:
Shallow depth of field: “Using a shallow depth of field to blur the background of a photo is a great way to isolate a subject and give your image a sense of depth but it doesn’t always happen automatically. Following these steps will help if you want to recreate a similar mood in your photos”
Understand the technicalities: “Creating bokeh requires a relationship between your lens focal length, aperture, as well as the distances between the camera, background and subject. You can control the first two factors by using a telephoto lens and a wide aperture setting like f/2.8. The remaining elements are influenced by how you compose and stage your scene.”
Chase the light: “Aim to shoot for up to an hour either side of sunset and sunrise. Natural scenes like grass and rippled water can be very effective when backlit by a low sun. Alternatively, urban scenes work well during early twilight, when levels of daylight are balanced with artificial light sources.”
Choose the right settings: “Modern-day cameras now do a brilliant job of minimising vibrations, meaning low-light shots without a tripod are possible. However, if your scenes include moving elements or people, you may want to maintain a higher shutter speed to avoid them blurring as they move.”
Get creative: “When light fades to darkness, use a tripod and longer exposure times to present a creative interpretation of urban life. Shoot silhouettes of friends against abstract blurred backdrops, or simply defocus the lens to show a familiar city scene in a new way. Adding an item into the foreground is a great way to give the viewer’s eyes a subject on which to settle.”
Be prepared: “Wrap up warm and start with fully charged camera batteries so you don’t get caught out by winter temperatures. If the thought of venturing outside leaves you cold, recreate the look in your own home with a table-top setup and a backdrop of Christmas decorations or fairy lights. Festive treats and children’s toys both look great when photographed in this style. Position a desk lamp or two to add balanced light into your scene.”