The When and Where of Light…

Well, I didn’t get out the door to shoot the sun on the day of the spring equinox yesterday…seemed like it was off a bit and besides I was already in downtime mode. I did it the night after instead…and this is another lesson on light. To really be good, you need to know when the light will be where you want it to be.

No – you can’t tell the sun to appear at the certain point on a certain day…but if you’re aware of where the sun (or moon) falls at different times of year, you can anticipate and prepare your shoots. Some of you with less than the required amount of news ethics may ask, so what – I can Photoshop whatever I want where I want. You can stop reading and skip to another blog right now. For those of you WITH news ethics…think about visions you’ve had of certain locations with light falling from the north or south…and what time of year/time of day might be best to revisit and shoot that site?

Too many times we work with the light that is there. At times we supplement it. At times we create our own lighting. But sometimes just letting nature take over results in some stunning images.

When I worked my one year as a production manager for a cable TV company, I’d mention waiting until a certain time or month to shoot local sites/businesses and get “the look.” That look said it all – hey, just go out now and shoot the sucker. If we needed it then and there, fine. But if we were archiving or working a few weeks/months out – I’d wait.

In the winter, the sun shines on the south sides of buildings. In the summer it hits the north side. Morning is sunnyside up for the east and evening is sunnyside for the west.

Example – the storage silos at the Port of Stockton sit right on the water. The shot looks kinda crappy in the winter…with the silos backlit. In the summer the sun shines on them across the water for a much more pleasant view.

So take a look around and get your directions straight and consider the seasons and when you can be there for that one single perfect moment.

One thought on “The When and Where of Light…

  1. Okay, it finally hit me. I forgot your birthday!!! mea culpa! (but in my defense, a lot’s hitting the fan this week — I’ll email)
    Jeanie

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