Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Learning to See: Midday Light

Once the sun is high in the sky, photographers begin to worry about harsh shadows and blown highlights. But, with a bit of creative thinking, even direct sunlight can produce breathtaking and unique images. After shooting spring flowers in Great Smoky Mountain National park, Jay noticed that bright sunlight was filtering through the trees overhead, and creating fascinating patterns on the ground. He shot this photograph of a Trillium flower lit by direct sunlight. He reduced the exposure to prevent the overexposure of the petals, which made the Trillium seem to glow among the darker leaves nearby.

Another trick for shooting at mid-day is to look for areas that are completely in shade or completely in sun. For this shot, Varina waited until the sun was covered by clouds - once the scene was completely in the shade, she took the shot. The photo was taken around 3:30 pm, but with an interesting foreground and sky - and even lighting - the shot works despite the time of day.

Here are some other examples of shots that were taken at mid-day. This one, from Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida was taken in direct sunlight. It works because the scene is evenly lit.

And this one is from Navajo Falls near Supai, Arizona. The entire scene is in shade - except for the flaring sun coming through the trees behind the falls.

Tips for shooting in Miday

  • Look for unique lighting when you shoot icons. You may have to return to the location several times to get great lighting.
  • Look for areas that are either completely in sun or completely in shade to avoid harsh light.
  • Use openings in between trees and canyon walls to capture a sun star effect.
  • Use opening in the trees to capture a spotlight effect. Make smaller details the focal point in your image.

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January 19, 2010 at 3:12 AM  

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