Some of the best advice you can ever take from photographers who shoot landscapes is to always shoot in the good light. Most o f the time they are referring to the golden light that happens around sunrise and sunset. The angle of the light during these times of day is low and has a warmer quality with great shadows for adding depth and dimension to your images. The problem is that you can’t always be shooting during the “good” light and must make the most out of the situation that you are in. This was the case for me a few days back while in Oregon. I had a chance to venture up to Mt. Hood in the afternoon and so I grabbed my camera and made the 30 mile drive up to historic Timberline Lodge. The problem for me was that the strong summer sun was still high in the sky when I arrived and hanging out till sunset was not an option. I didn’t let this ruin my trip though. I just made sure that I put myself in the best position to take advantage of the light that I had and that means trying to get the light behind me as I shoot.
If you look at the first image you will see that it is very bright and washed out. The blue sky looks anything but and the whole image just looks kind of blah (that’s a technical term).
But by moving to the other side of the structure and shooting with the sun at my back, I get a completely different result. The sky now has a much better color and I can see that there are actually some nice clouds. Also, the color of all the foreground objects are much better and more vivid.
Both of the example pictures were take with the exact same exposure settings – ISO 400, f/20 @ 1/160 sec. They were also taken just seconds apart. The only difference is the angle of the sun relative to the subject being shot. So next time you are out in the bright light, take a minute to see where the light is coming from. You just might find that moving a few feet makes all the difference in the world.