Exercise: Light through the day
Find a landscape scene with a fairly definite subject that will catch the sunlight even when the sun is close to the horizon. It needs to offer a good, clear view that is lit throughout the day, perhaps containing an isolated building. Photograph the scene from dawn to dusk, taking at least one per hour, and more at the end of the day when the light is changing faster. From the processed results, choose one photograph that you consider the best and is this the same one you would have chosen at the time? If not why not?
This series images have been cropped but no other post-processing has been applied.
I was lucky to be able to get this series of images as the weather had been the wettest April since records began and the first two weeks of May hadn’t been any better. This particular day, Sunday, was a window that I had to take as Monday reverted to the same weather pattern as previous.
I know that dawn was some time before 07:20, sunrise being 05:11, but it takes until about 06:30 for the sun to rise above the treeline surrounding the site and for an exercise I really couldn’t force myself to get out and about that early. Similarly sunset was later than my last image at 19:29, being 20:43, but again the treeline shields the site from sun when it’s so low in the sky and I didn’t see the need to stay any longer.
The question of which image I like best and is it the same one as when I was making them is a difficult one to answer. Whilst on-site I thought I liked the image made at 11:14 the best, but when I came to view them on a larger screen I found that there are in fact two which I cannot decide between them which I like most. The second image is the one I took at 17:40, and I think I cannot decide between them because they are so very similar; the light must be falling at very nearly a reciprocal angle.
This is the first time I’ve seen a large series of images taken throughout the day of exactly the same scene to show the effect that light has on it. It proved what I’d understood in theory that the best light falls in the ‘golden periods’ of dawn and just after, and sunset and just before, when the angle of light is more oblique than the rest of the day and gives surfaces a more interesting look and texture due to the shadows and undersides of surfaces being lit. What I also saw was that although the sun was clearly quite strong that day, once the cloud cover became more that about 80%, the light became monotonous and very flat, which made making any image in this series boring until such time as the cover thinned.