The mainstay of Photography is Light. In its many forms and, either being present or absent on images we all use light to “draw ” on the sensor. To give us our images.
However light is very transient. To give you an idea of this I was lying on my bed looking out of the window. It was a quiet night and I had not gone out, time constraints and level of tiredness had something to do with this and the “I can’t be bothered” syndrome. The tree across the road bust into flame with the reflected red light from the sun set. I love it when the light sets the world ablaze. However as with most things related to Landscape photography and light. It lasted for a max of 3 minutes then just as quickly as it had come, vanished. A wonderful 3 minutes where a tree changed its appearance from one of green to one of glory.
Now some 20 minutes later it has all gone, the clouds have rolled in and everything is muted. The tree that was ablaze is nothing more than a shadow against a backdrop of grey clouds. The feeling is entirely different. The whole scene has a different atmosphere, all due to light.
All photographers look for how the light falls. Be it on a subject or not as the case may be.
This is the apparent temperature of the light falling on a subject. It is not however how you think of it. Cool light which is blue tends to have a shorter wavelength while red light, the warmer tones tend towards a longer wave length. Its to do with sciencey stuff and how a black body is heated up. The upshot is warm light late evening early morning, when the sun has to go through the atmosphere is more flattering to the landscape.
Coupled with this are the longer shadows that are cast. These add definition to the landscape and highlight texture. This is not to say that you can’t do landscape work at mid day. If that is the look you are after then it’s fine. It could be your voice/style.
Just before Dawn or Just after sun set you get the Blue Hour. things change again. Everything is tinged with a blue quality. Take an Image with an artificial source like tungsten the colour temperture gives a soft and very inviting look. Fantastic for hotels.
Soft or Hard
This is not what its eems but is a comment on the quality and direction. Hard light is very direct cast strong shadows along with harsh lines. While the soft form is more subtle and is more even. One of my prefered Photographers, a guy called Ben Horne, His youtube channel is HERE. Website HERE. He explores aeas and decides at what time of day and where he places his camera based on what he believes with be the best light for him to accent his subject, I would stronlgly have a look at his images. Simply put they are superb.
It is very easy to think that we just go out and snap away in any light and hpe that something will work out. This is not the case. We have a huge number of questions that we have to answer and they all start with. Whats the light like. Where will it fall.Whattime of day is it. Is this the best time of day to work with. What do I want to accent. Will the quality of light have an impact on the texture, will the shadows work. Not least the bit about exposure and finally will I be able to see to get to or from my shot.