Gotcha didn’t I – Betcha you thought this was going to be a post about the hard times in the wonderful world of photography. Nope, it’s about when are the best times during the day to grab your camera, head outdoors and capture those wonderful images that can take your breath away.
I can’t tell you the number of times while traveling across the area visiting National or State Parks that I’ll see folks lined up at high noon just snapping away. Well that’s just fine it you simply want to take some pictures, but not it if you plan to turn that image into a print worth hanging on your wall.
I’ve stated before and will state again – in most cases taking photographs between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM will for the most part, create images with washed out colors, poor shadow effects, and in general not really good photographs. Let’s be clear, we are talking about nature and landscapes – if you are taking news worthy images or covering an event, it is what it is; you’ve got to get the shot. Just make sure the exposure is correct.
There are a few other exceptions; I enjoy shooting when storms are forming or when the skies are overcast. You can get some exciting and dramatic effects shooting under these situations.
For the most part, the best time to capture those impressive shots are – now this is based on your dedication to getting “The Shot” – shortly after sunrise, so you must have scoped out your shot, gotten to the location set up and be ready to go before the sun ever begins to creep into the eastern sky.
Now don’t fret, if you are not an early bird and just can’t seem to bring yourself to roll out of bed and the break of dawn, wait for the early evening light. Just realize that the lighting and shadow effects will be quite different taking the same shot at the exact same location. Plan for that, it might not be what you were hoping or expected.
I suggest you use a tripod when taking these shots, hand holding will cause shake, in fact if your camera permits, lock the mirror up. Most people will tend to use a high ISO (400+) setting, fight the urge; this will create an image with more noise than one shot at a lower ISO, for landscapes I very seldom use an ISO higher than 240. If you don’t have a remote trigger, set the shutter timer on your camera to a couple of seconds once again this will reduce camera movement.
For you brave souls, take the camera off automatic and experiment with shutter speeds and aperture settings. You may be surprised at what YOU can create instead of letting the camera make all the decisions for you.
Remember photography is a frame of mind – visualize the end results before you ever take the shot!
Have fun out there.