Dawn to Dusk

September 09, 2019

Dawn Till Dusk Richard Rawlings Photography Logo

Not to be confused with Dusk till Dawn, which is a vampire movie starring George Clooney, not a bad movie but poor ending.

This relates to Dawn to Dusk. Normally a person of the late evening it was my first trip out before sunrise for several months. There are a few things I thought I would share with you.


In a different way to the evening this was the quiet of a potential day. Everything just waking up. Except for the Cows which were already awake and eating. Until they saw me and at that stage made a beeline. Having been born and raised on a farm I am not particularly worried about these beasts. They are, on the whole gentle and curious and this is how it was this morning when they came over and started sniffing and trying to eat my jacket.

One of the key things I felt was the absence of human activity on the day. The human rubbish had not been piled onto it and it felt like there were huge possibilities.  Is it possible to feel the absence of this? Not sure, but it all felt clean and ready. It was the potential of what would come, what would be.

With the exception of the never-ending traffic noise from the A14. there were only a few birds about. No dawn Chorus, have things got that bad that it does not shout any more?


One of the things that I must say is that the pace of things slows down at that time in the morning. My life is dominated by the clock. There is no clock to speak of then. This is the same at dusk, but in the morning the sun rises very quickly. From below the horizon to above, it all seems to be a rush. It is almost like the sun is saying right let’s get on with it. Let’s get the day started.  You can take your time but you are governed by the position and height of the sun.

It is the same at dusk. The sun sets very quickly but you are able to wait around in the afterglow. This is sometimes nicer than the sunset itself. The clouds can light up and hold the light for a little longer, and, depending on the height of the clouds can be more spectacular. 


I made comment about light a couple of weeks ago. The light is similar to dusk, but it comes from a totally different direction. Yes, I know, that’s to be expected sun rises in the east and sets in the west. What I mean is the shadows are different. My normal haunt next to the river seems different in the long shadows cast by a morning sun over the long shadows cast by a setting sun. There also seems to be less red in this light. This I can only put down to the absence of dust in the air from the day’s activities. Like I said it all seems cleaner. 

If you want to see how the position of the sun makes a difference to shadows just do dawn to dusk without moving far. You will see how the light affects the landscape. How the colour of the light changes, how the shadows move, starting long and softer moving towards shorter and harshed then back to long and soft.

As an experiment set up your camera in a convenient place and start taking images 30 or so mins apart looking at the colour of light and the position of the shadows. This will give you invaluable experience as to what you want when you are on location. Everyone looks for dramatic images but different light can bring out subtleties is texture, in all sorts of things, From the land itself to bark on trees. All can be enhanced by the light.

One other thing to bear in mind, time of year will also play a huge role in the position and colour of the sunlight that plays on the landscape.

Walking Home

The best bit about dawn though is, well 2 things actually. You get to walk home in the light, so you can see where you are going. No groping along the river bank feeling for the roots and sudden dips. Not only that you get back with time to look and edit your pictures that day. This is something I tend not to do though. I like to wait a couple of days before editing so the moment can sink in and I get a better feel for what I saw. memory is different from the here and now. You heighten some things and diminish others.

As with so much of photography you have to ask yourself questions. Am I really going to get up and 4 am walk 3 or 4 miles to get that shot and enjoy the rest of the day. I or one do like that it makes the day seem really long. What light do you want? How do you want to show the subject?  I am not suggesting a day from dawn till dusk at one location but it gives you a lot of time to move around and see. Sometimes go without your camera just to look and make some plans. Sometimes just go and enjoy natures spectacle.

For images taken at both dawn and Dusk take a look at my Instagram page HERE



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