For landscape photography, mornings and evenings are the best times of the day
If you've ever shot a photo in a beautiful spot and it turned out bland and boring, it could have been the color and angle of the light. This is
particularly true if you shot the image at midday.
Colors of Light
The colors of light are also different at various times of day. Morning light is more inclined to contain a "cool" or bluish hue to it, while the afternoon and on into evening light contains a "warm" or orange hue to it.
During midday, the light shining down on your landscape has very little color. Although in some cases this might not be an issue, many times it will have an effect upon the dynamic factor of the landscape image. Although a normal image captured at midday will pop to life during the afternoon.
I'm particularly fond of late in the afternoon lighting with the golden colors it impart to landscapes. The effect become more pronounced if the scene that you're shooting already contains yellow, orange and red colors. A good way way to see this for yourself the way the color of light transforms during day's course is to shoot a number of different photos of the same scene at various times during the day. This
interesting exercise is much less complicated to carry off at home on a weekend rather than when you're away on vacation, so perhaps you should try it before your next out of town trip.
Angles of Light
Between the hours of 10am through 2pm, the sun gets pretty high above the sky. The whole landscape becomes flooded with pretty much the similar amount of light. There are hardy any shadows, while the ones that you do see are very short.
This all results in a flat appearing photo. Do this experiment to picture the way it works. It's pretty
artificial, although the concept is similar to landscape photography. Use any light (a flashlight works) and find a textured surface (stone, brick, grass, etc.). Shine the light straight into the surface and shoot an image.
This will result in a patterned photo, although nothing prominent. Now, hold the light at a sharp angle in relation to the object you're shooting. Capture another image. Now, the texture of the object should be readily apparent. In actuality, you may suddenly become aware of a bit of texture that was totally invisible without the angled light source.
The principle at work here is identical to the sun over a landscape. For example take sand dunes. In midday, sand dunes don't appear to be too much anything except for huge sand piles. There are no apparent shadows providing them with dimension or depth. Although with the rising or setting sun, every single configuration of every one of those dunes are visible, and thus making a wonderful photographic opportunity.
To Sum it Up
Although most of us do not schedule all of our vacations around what time of the day it is, it will make a big difference when seeking that one of a kind photo. So if the opportunity arises, get up early some morning to shoot some photos. Or, rearrange that nature hike timing so that you may shoot a few photos from atop a scenic lookout as the sun sets.
And by every means, don't stop shooting photos at midday. While they may not deliver as much punch as the ones shot earlier or later in the day, they're better than no pictures at all.
Sep 4, 2011