THE BEST TIMES OF DAY TO CAPTURE GREAT LANDSCAPE SHOTS
Why an alarm clock is a landscape photographer’s best friend
Our camera is never far from its tripod.
The lens is permanently set to f/16.
And, excuse us, that pile of rocks over there would make a great focal point – we’ll be right back.
That’s right, we’re landscape photographers.
And so, as we come towards the end of our Landscape Month of photography tips and tricks, check out our blog posts and Instagram to see what other incredible Olympus users have been up to.
But maybe, just maybe, you’ve been feeling frustrated by your landscapes. Perhaps you’ve headed out to an incredible location, only to be disappointed by pictures that don’t do your scenery full justice.
There are lots of things you can do to improve your photography, from investing in better lenses to improving your post-production chops. But when it comes to landscape photography, perhaps the best move you can make is paying more attention to the times of day you’re actually shooting.
It’s well known that the first and last few hours of the day produce the most interesting light. The sun produces a warmer, dimmer light that doesn’t blow out the highlights of your image. It also produces interesting shadows and makes even lacklustre scenery pop out of the frame.
That means investing in an alarm clock and leaping out of bed when it goes off. If you reach the scene much after sunrise you may already have missed the best of the light. That goes double if you’re shooting during a British winter, when cloud cover can arrive at a moment’s notice.
You should also have an awareness of roughly where the sun is going to be at a particular time of day, and how that will relate to what you’re shooting. Put in the broadest terms, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So if you’re on the south coast of the UK, the sun will be on your right hand side as you look out to sea. If you’re on the west coast of Scotland you’ll get a pretty good sunset out to sea, but you might need to make your way to the east coast if you want to get nice light hitting the land.
You can get much more specific than that, though. Have a look at apps such as PhotoPills, which is a superb little piece of phone software that calculates where the sun will be in the sky at any particular time of day. Looking to get the very final second of daylight, and position the sun on the horizon to get those lovely starburst effects? This app will help you establish exactly where to stand so you don’t have to dash about with a tripod. It’s also useful for nighttime photography.
You’ll also do well to pay attention to the weather forecast. It doesn’t really matter where the sun is in the sky if it’s being diffused through a thick layer of cloud.
Or ignore the forecast completely – those grey, overcast days are a great excuse to break out your camera’s Art Filters and give that high contrast black and white mode a go.
There’s only one more week of our Landscape Month left, but next week’s a doozy – we want your best landscape pictures for our monthly roundup. Tag us with #OlympusUK on Twitter and Instagram, or hit our Facebook group to find a community of Olympus-loving photographers. Alternatively, you can find us hanging out on Flickr.