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Thread: The right time of the day

  1. #1

    The right time of the day

    I'm only trying to be helpful, but I see a lot of outdoor shots on here that seem to be taken at the wrong time of the day. It's not a golden rule at all, but generally speaking, you will get better shots around sun-up and sun-down. The light is kinder at those times and you often get interesting shadows that you simply can't get at mid-day.

    This one was shot about 45mins before sun-down back in February. I was just walking along a wooden foot-bridge across a lake when these two swans swam towards me. It's really just a snap, but you can see from the colours how much difference the time of day makes. I can tell you, it wouldn't have looked anything like this 3 hours earlier. I would have binned it.

    Rant over. Pull it to pieces now. EXIF

    EDIT: I need to add - the above doesn't apply if conditions are stormy or very overcast (although overcast conditions are rarely good light for landscapes). I have taken some very nice landscapes during the day, but rarely in bright sun.

    The right time of the day
    Last edited by carregwen; 17th May 2010 at 06:00 PM. Reason: additional comment

  2. #2

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    Re: The right time of the day

    You make a good point, Rob, but I might suggest some clarifications.

    As you said, it isn't a rule, but it needs to be kept in mind. As I said to António in the "Landscapes" thread, high sun was perfect for his picture of the balanced rock. And second, as he noted in his reply, you don't always have a choice as to when you're shooting.

    If you're planning an outing for photography, planning for morning or late afternoon is good, of course. But if you only have mid-day light available, what's still available? Plain landscape becomes hard, because the light from above tends to flatten it out. But you can probably still shoot in deep shade under trees. A lot of architecture shots will still work, although early or late colors will probably be more flattering. For people, fill flash will help a lot.

    Other ideas?

    Cheers,
    Rick

  3. #3

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    You make a good point, Rob, but I might suggest some clarifications.

    As you said, it isn't a rule, but it needs to be kept in mind. As I said to António in the "Landscapes" thread, high sun was perfect for his picture of the balanced rock. And second, as he noted in his reply, you don't always have a choice as to when you're shooting.

    If you're planning an outing for photography, planning for morning or late afternoon is good, of course. But if you only have mid-day light available, what's still available? Plain landscape becomes hard, because the light from above tends to flatten it out. But you can probably still shoot in deep shade under trees. A lot of architecture shots will still work, although early or late colors will probably be more flattering. For people, fill flash will help a lot.

    Other ideas?

    Cheers,
    Rick
    It can work at midday. The shot below (it's a stitched panorama) was shot at mid-day. It's an attractive scene and a good composition, and that does distract somewhat from a closer look at it. I think the colours are a little bleached, and I'm sure it would have looked better a few hours earlier (it's west facing).

    Available time? Yes, that's a tricky one. If I'm out walking for the day I often leave my camera gear in the car and time my return to fit sunset. But then you need to be parked in a good spot!

    I'm quite happy for people to post images shot at mid-day to prove it can work OK.

    The right time of the day

  4. #4
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: The right time of the day

    Right time of day is a bit like giving in isn't it. I think there isn't any difference in light at midday except it is brighter with short dark shadows. It should be possible to take a different photograph at midday without artifacts, it is just harder. Nearly all my photos are taken midday just because they are like this one.
    The right time of the day

  5. #5

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Right time of day is a bit like giving in isn't it. I think there isn't any difference in light at midday except it is brighter with short dark shadows. It should be possible to take a different photograph at midday without artifacts, it is just harder. Nearly all my photos are taken midday just because they are like this one.
    The right time of the day

    Hmmm..that one is good, but it's 15:08 at the end of March - the sun is quite low. Interesting shot.

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: The right time of the day

    Yes ok, I think it was taken earlier but I do know your point and most of my photographic effort is to do with using the midday sun, without CA and without bleached or harsh contrast. It is a bit harder but I think worth the bother.

  7. #7

    Re: The right time of the day

    OK, what time of day do you think this one was taken?

    The right time of the day

  8. #8

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    Re: The right time of the day

    I reckon about 3 hours either side of noon
    walshy

  9. #9

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by Walshy View Post
    I reckon about 3 hours either side of noon
    walshy
    Pretty good. It was actually 09:39. Creates a weird effect doesn't it.

  10. #10

    Re: The right time of the day

    What about this one then. Good game this.

    The right time of the day

  11. #11
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: The right time of the day

    Early morning I suspect.

  12. #12
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    Re: The right time of the day

    I would say mid day but with overhead clouds or fog filtering the sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    What about this one then. Good game this.

    The right time of the day

  13. #13
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    Re: The right time of the day

    I am so impatient waiting for sunset and unless I am traveling usually miss sunrise.

  14. #14
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    Re: The right time of the day

    Rob's first post is true in general, and I prefer early or late shooting when possible...but...it is also seasonal. It is late Autumn here at the moment and this does extend shooting time. (I'd rush out to show you what a 12.51pm shot looks like, but it is overcast and claggy today, so light is flat anyway.) In winter, it even gets better, as the sun stays low in the sky for most of the day.

  15. #15

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    I would say mid day but with overhead clouds or fog filtering the sun.
    The right time of the day

    Close. It was 13:30. Why didn't you think it was early morning?

  16. #16

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    Rob's first post is true in general, and I prefer early or late shooting when possible...but...it is also seasonal. It is late Autumn here at the moment and this does extend shooting time. (I'd rush out to show you what a 12.51pm shot looks like, but it is overcast and claggy today, so light is flat anyway.) In winter, it even gets better, as the sun stays low in the sky for most of the day.
    Quite true, the seasons do make a difference. As you say, in winter you have more scope, and you get a later sunrise and earlier sunset.

  17. #17
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    Re: The right time of the day

    Also a difference between sunset and sunrise, except form the opposite direction the incoming light (sounds so obvious though it is sometimes a great solution for a beautiful shot), is that sunrise is great for landscaping. At sunrises at early spring days you get often a night temperatures below zero degrees and when the sun comes up you have a lot of moist (and sometimes ice) on the scenic and above water you get a beautiful mist.

    For example:

    The right time of the day

    View on White

  18. #18

    Re: The right time of the day

    Quote Originally Posted by JK6065 View Post
    Also a difference between sunset and sunrise, except form the opposite direction the incoming light (sounds so obvious though it is sometimes a great solution for a beautiful shot)
    Good point, and I do like that shot of yours. You may have a really good scene to shoot, but at a particular time of the day the sun is just in the wrong place. I keep meaning to get up early and drive down to this location below (Penberry Head in Pembrokeshire, West Wales) A superb view, but needs to be shot early in the morning as it faces West. Trouble is that there's at least a 1 hour hike from the road to scramble up to the top. One day. Shot below was done at 14:00 and the sun was a problem - had to crop it and edit quite a bit, and it still doesn't look great.

    The right time of the day

  19. #19
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    Re: The right time of the day

    It is all right for those of you in the high latitudes to enjoy the hours of dusk and twilight to leisurely capture such beautiful photos as the ones on this thread but for those of us in the tropics it is a different story. I went out on Sunday afternoon to try to get some twilight pictures to enter into the May competition. When I arrived the scene was magnificent but by the time I got my camera out, checked the batteries and set up the tripod the light was gone. We count ourselves luck if we get an hour of twilight. The answer seems to be to to wait for overcast conditions to avoid the harsh light of day.
    Grant

  20. #20
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: The right time of the day

    The cool color temperatures are typical of midday.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    The right time of the day

    Close. It was 13:30. Why didn't you think it was early morning?

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