Review: Exploring the Light

Exploring the Light

Understanding exposure is an extremely vital part of photography but can often be very confusing for beginners. If you or someone you know is looking for a book to provide a little insight into understanding exposure, Rick Sammon’s Exploring the Light is an excellent resource.

Exploring the Light starts off with the basics: composition, shutter speed and aperture. There are also quite a few sections on camera settings, modes, metering and operation for digital SLRs. Once you have the basics down, the rest of the book relies on these principals in order to get a better understanding of light and exposure.

Rick Sammon provides a lot of excellent tips and insight into many common lighting situations. There’s a section about seeing the different types of light and making the most out of it, as well as one on overcoming difficult lighting conditions. There’s even an entire chapter dedicated to flash photography, which can be very intimidating for a lot of people.

Sammon does drive the point that “the more we know about getting the best possible exposure, the less time we have to spend in the digital darkroom rescuing our pictures, and therefore the more time we have to take pictures.”

At the same time, he does also realize how powerful programs like Photoshop can be and closes the book with some simple yet very effective Photoshop techniques for enhancing your photos, not completely transforming them.

Perhaps the best part of Exploring the Light is the fact that Rick Sammon provides examples of the photos that lead to the “keeper” shots – providing advice on seeing creatively.

He also supplies technical information on the majority of the shots in order for readers to better understand the camera settings.

Exploring the Light is an excellent guide to composition, exposure, and understanding the basics of light and lighting. Rick Sammon does a great job explaining the basics and uses his work to help illustrate the point.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone just getting into photography or intermediate users. The lessons in this book are fundamentals that every photographer should learn.

Rick Sammon’s Exploring the Light: Making the Very Best In-Camera Exposures is available at