Its all about the light

A very common photography saying is "It's all about the Light".

Capturing an image on to the sensor of your camera is a process of converting light in to pixels.  But there is no doubt that the type and quality of that light is what really separates a normal photo from a great photo.  You can think about light in three ways:

  1. intensity
  2. direction
  3. colour

I sometimes wonder if sunrise photos are popular because many people do not get up to see them.  But putting that to the side, there is a unique quality to morning light.  In the morning the intensity is not as strong as the middle of the day, often providing a lovely tonal range.  This is even more special just before the sun actually rises above the horizon especially if you are lucky enough to have clouds in the sky. 

Morning light is really interesting as the direction of the sun is low in the sky creating long shadows.  

Thirdly morning light often has a warmness to it giving a golden glow to the landscape.

The late afternoon often provides the same qualities with nice warm light low in the sky.

When travelling morning or afternoon are often the best times to get out and capture your photos. In particular in Australia where our bright beaches and intense outback makes shooting in the middle of the day difficult. Unfortunately it is not always this simple as you are often on the move and only have the ability to stop at a popular destination during the day.  

While often you can shoot with the sun behind you, sometimes this is not always the case. Can you move to have the light coming from a different direction? If your only choice is to shoot in to the sun think a bit more creatively in terms of using the light.  For example can you mask the sun behind an object or try taking a silhouette? 

When we travel most of us want nice warm sunny days.  But as a photographer often the opposite provides more unique images.  A scene with clouds has the potential to provide a more interesting image than blue sky.  

Even better is the intense mood created by stormy weather.  Some of the best photos I have taken is waking up to the rain and deciding to still get up to see if I can capture a glimpse of the morning sun.

What ever approach you take, next time you are out think a bit more about where the light is coming from.  Or if you are keen - try getting up before the sun and experience the amazing colours of an early morning sunrise.


REMEMBER - It is all about the light