Light is one of the key factors in landscape photography and plays an important part in making a successful image. The way the scene is lit and from which direction, determines its mood and appearance and although goodcomposition is needed to hold the picturetogether, the light can make or break the final picture.
The classic time for the perfect landscapephotograph is the one hour after sunrise or before sunset. This is when the light is at its best and only a great view is needed to make the most of it. The time of day at which this magical light appears obviously varies throughout the year. During winter this will be around 8am in the morning and 4pm in the afternoon. Whereas in summer, it can be as early as 6am in the morning and around 8pm in the evening. Despite these time differences, the premise is the same and the quality of the light is at its best in these two windows of time. That is not to say however, that the rest of the day should be seen as time-out to put your feet up and relax. Oh, no! You can still make use of every hour in the day to make great images, you just have to change your style and approach to make the use of each hour.
This is usually the time that the landscape photographer can take a break and get something to eat or catch up on some sleep after the early rise. But, if you keep changing your approach, then you can still take some excellent photographs. As the sun is now at its highest point in the sky, colour saturation is reduced, so look for strong colours to compensate. A polariser will have little effect now, so you are relying on the strong colours of nature to make up for this. The landscape will look flat and have little definition, so look for strong shapes as well. You could use the suns glare to shoot silhouettes and shimmering highlights across views of lakes and rivers. Fluffy cumulus clouds appear in the sky, which will help break up the almost whitening of the sky at this time and these can convey that typical summers day look to an image.
You can read more about shooting landscapes at different times of the day in my eGuide ‘All Day Landscapes’, available as part of an e6 subscription or to purchase separately. www.e6subscription.co.uk