Weekly Photo Challenge: Dust in a Beam of Light

This week is a guest post by talented UrbanX photographer Sue Rakers Enjoy her adventures through abandoned buildings. In this post, she gives you a few tips on how to capture that beam of light – even if you aren’t amongst the ghosts. @srakersphoto
This week, the theme is to:
Photograph Dust in a Beam of Light
Capturing a beautiful light beam at just the right moment is always a nice bonus for photographers. Sometimes nature cooperates and does all the work for us, as in this photo taken in an old barn loft. But it can also take a little work to get the light and the dust in the air to combine and create something special. There are several tips and tricks you can use to enhance the beam without using any post production.
Abandoned building beam of light

Photo by Sue Rakers

Shoot at an angle from the light source and try to look for a background with the most contrast. In this first shot, I was facing more toward the window and the light source so there was not much contrast in the background. I quickly moved over to the left and was able to get much more of the beam from the side along with the darker background. I also lowered my exposure a bit to add more contrast.
Abandoned school ray of light desk

Photo by Sue Rakers

Abandoned school ray of light desk

Photo by Sue Rakers

Another thing that will help bring the sunbeam out is of course, dust in the air, or any particulate matter for the light to bounce off of. For the previous photos, we took a handful of dirt and tossed it into the air.
For the next photo, my friend was at the top of the stairs and she kicked the dirt and dust down the steps. I highly recommend using a respirator or dust mask if you do this in certain locations. Much of this “dust” can consist of lead paint, asbestos, mold…etc. Even with a mask, its best to get your shots quickly and move on. A much safer alternative however, is to use flour, or if you are able, a fog machine or spray water.
abandoned stairway beam of light

Photo by Sue Rakers

Finally, have fun! In these final photos we were awestruck by how strong the sunbeam was in this factory. There was already a lot of particulate in the air, and a lot of great contrast. We were able to play with some shots first, then took it a step further, tossing some dirt around one another for some great effects. It was a great discovery, and besides, a little dirt never hurts anyone!!
Bucket in beam of light abandoned building

Photo by Sue Rakers

Person enveloped in dust in a beam of light abandoned building

Photo by Sue Rakers

Share your posts in the Comments below and share with the tag #photoyogadust for a chance to have your photo featured on PhotoYoga.


Guest Contributor:
Sue Rakers
Much of what I photograph is called abandonment or decay photography. I am fascinated with abandoned spaces and the stories they have to tell.
Find more of Sue’s photos on her website or follow her on Instagram.
Contact PhotoYoga if you would like to sponsor a weekly challenge.

I’m using my Random Inspiration Generator to choose the challenge each week. Use it if you want more frequent inspirations!

Black and White Mountain Top Poster

This post is sponsored by PhotoYoga.

PhotoYoga is designed as a positive place for photography where photographers accept at each other. PhotoYoga is a safe place for learning and growth. Sign up today for weekly newsletters.





  1. Sue says:

    Fantastic! I have rarely captured dust in a light beam effectively ….as Eliot said “dust in the air suspended marks the place where a story ended”…. I’m still looking

    Liked by 2 people

  2. They are great photos, I just go out with my camera as a hobby but I never even thought about something like this really interesting, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie Smyth says:

    A fun post, and a challenging topic


  4. ArtisanX says:

    This is why you just stop me in my Reader tracks. These photos are amazing! I just have to attempt a couple of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Arati says:

    Fabulous photos, thanks for sharing your process.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the lighting, Jen! Thanks for sharing! Marcus

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Marie says:

    I love the last shot. Taking a bow or maybe being called to eternity. I had to dig for something to fit but it was fun searching.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. […] Weekly Photo Challenge by witsend […]


  2. […] Join Wits End Weekly Photo Challenge: Dust in a Beam of Light […]


  3. […] Weekly Photo Challenge: Dust in a beam of light […]



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: