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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 3) The Midday Sun

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

Noel Coward wrote that only mad dogs and Englishmen would dare go out in the midday Sun. Fortunately for us, Noel didn’t include photographers in those that shouldn’t.

Now that we have been up since 4am for the First Light at the beach and spent a pleasant morning strolling through the gardens in the Second Light, we may as well stick it out for the rest of the day. I still have some space on my CF card. Do you? So lets get out from under this tree and enjoy the rest of the day.

11.01am

My watch says 11.01am and it’s heating up. It’s going to stay this way until about 2pm so some preparation is in order. Looking out there, you might think there isn’t much to offer. But you are very much mistaken.

11.10am

Other than some UV cream and a hat, a comfort stop and a cool drink, I’m ready. I’ve snapped on a wide zoom (17-35mm) because I’m not heading anywhere special. That’s my ‘nothing special in mind’ lens. I’m going to wander to see where life takes me. Since I cast only a little shadow to follow I’ll let my nose lead the way. It’s big enough not to loose sight of in a crowd.

11.24am

I’ll do a quick pass by the beach to see if there is anything going on. The glare will be severe so I’ll slip on a polerising filter to cut back on the reflections and increase the blueness of the sky. You might be lucky enough to spot some interesting landforms as well ….. whatever your preference.

11.26pm

11.27am

11.35am

Last week the storms made the sky a bit more interesting but you take what you can get when it comes to the weather.

11.55am last week

And when things start to happen you don’t consult your watch to find out if its within your allocated shooting time.

Just because its midday, there’s not reason to be wasting your time in a library with a good book – or not!

12.08pm

If you’re looking for people doing interesting things, go have lunch with them. People, for some reason, swarm around food outlets at this time of the day. I don’t have a lot of luck with my pick-up lines but you might try: ‘I like the look of that pasta. Can I have a bite?’

12.22pm

If the weather permits, stay outdoors and shoot over the top of your sandwich. The wide angle will help here. Since there will be plenty of light, find a good depth of field and the focus will take care of itself. This is candid stuff – not museum masterpieces, so enjoy the moment without the hassles of perfect picture control.

12.50pm

You might be lucky enough to have a local market handy if it’s the weekend. The colours will be bright in this full sun so search out those in the red end of the spectrum.

12.59pm

If you are near a local Mall, have a walk down the thoroughfare. If it’s too hot you may have the place to yourself. Look around for those colours again. Assume that anyone who looks a bit strange has been affected by the Sun’s heat and give them some space; cranky fairies included.

1.00pm

Keep in mind the shadows will be about 8 stops below the sun lit promenade, so don’t expect too much detail up alley ways and through doorways.

The contrast at this time of the day is extreme and it can be used to your advantage. If you have some countryside nearby look out for full sun on textured surfaces. The sky might get a bit burnt out here so keep your horizon high or totally out of the picture.

1.02pm

If you choose to include the horizon, convert to B&W and darken the sky with the blue slider in the B&W adjustment layer. It looks better than a big blob of white overhead.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing the tourist thing and taking that shot from the lookout with the busload of grey nomads on their ‘Round The World Expedition. I fit right in.

1.07pm

I love the fountains at this time of the day. The water sparkles but you might need to walk around to find the right angle. Then wait for the lunchtime crowd to pass by. Someone will catch your eye.

1.10pm

Of course, if you live in some miserable climate like Brighton or Vancouver and it rains all the time, you can still go out. The wet streets provide a great atmosphere for you to practice your skills or just record your memories.

1.27pm

The old buildings are worth a look. Because the Sun is high in the sky, the shadows will be short. You will find one side of the building in light shadow, though. This is probably a bit easier to work with as far as exposure is concerned.

1.29pm

But don’t neglect the sunny side. Again, the contrast will be extreme and this can give you some interesting textures and shadows to play with.

1.32pm

Those hours between 11am and 2pm when most people are having a siesta, lunch or a respite in the air-conditioning can be a rewarding and exciting time for you with your camera if you are willing.

Oh, and save some memory for our early afternoon shoot. There’s always a sunset on the way.

2.00pm

Besides. if you’re making excuses for not taking photographs you’re only half serious.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 3) The Midday Sun.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Composition, Featured, Landscape, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

If you have recovered from my recent post on shooting at first light, you might be ready for something a little more sedate. Enjoy breakfast with your partner, have an extra cup of coffee, even suggest your partner might like to come along (…on second thoughts, tell him/her you’re going to the dentist). Today we are photographing in that lovely light after sunrise.

Second light – Botanic Gardens.

I call this second light because, although I hate getting up too early, my preference is still for the light before sunrise. Still, it’s a great time to be out and about, especially if you’ve pulled a ‘sicky’ from work to join me.

I’m heading for the local Botanic Gardens for no particular reason than it’s there. My kit is made up of the usual suspects: a wide zoom (14 -24mm) and mid (24-70mm) but I’ve added a macro and a long focal length (200mm) for good reason as you will see.

Today is bright and sunny so I make sure I have all my lens hoods and a hat (that’s for my balding head). The tripod is always with me. In my experience, this time of the day can be deceiving. There seems to be heaps of light about but the shadows are quite dark so there could be some moderately long shutter speeds, especially if I want an extended depth of field.

(If you’re a beginner and I’ve just lost you with that stuff about depth of field and shutter speed, ask someone on Light Stalking to explain it to you. They’re really good at that.)

In my part of the world, this time of the day always seems extra saturated with the colours and the tonal contrast is amazing. So, I take full advantage of this. It’s what I call ‘shooting for the conditions’. I can’t change the climate but I can learn to live with it.

My eyes immediately begin to search the landscape for places where this saturation and contrast brings out the best in the frame. Deep green shadows are avoided. Speckled light is hard to expose correctly so I move out into the open.

Botanic Gardens are designed. So it’s worth looking for vista’s, frames within your frame, and nooks that have been purposefully constructed to catch one’s eye.

The low angle of the Sun provides beautiful backlight, rimming the tree trunks and highlighting the foliage. I walk and watch towards the Sun. seeking out long shadows that can be used to lead the eye.

Foreground and background are important but it’s easy to clutter the frame with too much. To avoid this, I take full advantage of my walking shoes and seek the best perspective before shooting; always endeavoring to keep that sun in the background.

‘But shooting into the sun?’ I hear you say. With a bit of maneuvering, the sun can be tucked behind some foliage or a tree trunk. You will need to  watch that histogram for blow-outs (sorry, there’s nothing wrong with the tires on your car). If you’re not sure how to use it, read the Light Stalking article on how to read a histogram.

Go for detail in the shadows if you can and let the sun burn out a bit behind the trees. It gives a nice halo effect and gives the impression of a brilliant sunny day. But don’t overdo it.

Since it’s usually quiet this time of the morning there’s always an opportunity for a self-portrait. Seats are placed strategically among the trees for effect as well as rest, so include them in your shots.

Also look for those special plants, unusual textures, surprising angles and, of course, the obligatory close-up.

One thing I learnt from this trip was to watch where I leave my kit. This is the time when the gardeners are testing their sprinkler system. At least it saves me washing this week.

For some reason, Botanic Gardens are not heavily frequented by wildlife. I have more birds in my back yard. I did find a few grazing geese and a spider, but other than a stray dog and a dead cane toad, I was the only animal in the park – and even my zoological status has been questioned by some.

Now its time to finish up. You’ll have enough time to download this lot before settling on a nice lunch and a glass of Chard. Then prepare yourself for the midday run.

Thanks for joining me.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light.

 

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How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot

via How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot | Fstoppers.

If you are a budding photographer, you are probably a lot like I was when I first picked up a camera: somewhat naive about lenses. Knowing when to use a wide angle lens verses a telephoto lens is both a creative decision as well as a logistical one. Readers often ask which lenses to buy over at the Fstoppers Forum, and recently Mark Wallace shed a lot of light on the topic in his latest Adorama TV episode: Choosing The Right Lens. Not only does Mark talk about the practicalities of using one type of lens over another but he also demonstrates exactly how perspective, distortion, and compression look at different focal lengths. Knowing the tools of your trade is extremely important so if you haven’t tackled this topic yet we hope this will be useful. We have also outlined a few of our favorite photo and video lenses on our Lens Guide.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in General, Inspiration, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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