A Zillion blogs and articles can be written about the Importance of Light in photography and it would still be insufficient to emphasize how invaluable it is to making good Images.
In continuation from my earlier blog, today I would like to discuss the importance of, and the impact which “Shooting in Golden Light” can add to an image. If you have not read do check out the earlier blog “Shooting at eye level” here.
“Golden Light” also sometimes termed as “Magical light” can technically be defined as the light “some minutes to hours” after sunrise and before sunset (The duration will increase and decrease depending on how far or near one is with respect to the equator respectively).
During the day, Sun is almost overhead and there is a huge difference in the intensity of light in the dark and bright areas of an Image. The Dynamic range of our cameras is not as good as our eyes is, and it almost always ends up underexposing the shadows and blowing up the highlights. Golden light is much softer and easier to work with, and produces pleasing shadows and good highlight details. Colors pop-up in golden light and subjects which look ordinary and sometimes boring during the day, look beautiful when shot during mornings and evenings.
Golden light has an almost Divine effect on landscapes in particular, I have been to a number of locations at different time of the day and the landscape though beautiful in Day light, appears almost angelic in the Mornings and Evenings.
When planning to visit a new location for a shoot (Wildlife and Landscapex in particular), it’s critically important to check the weather forecast and to know the sunrise and sunset time for that location. I normally google and check the weather forecast for the location I want to shoot and then plan accordingly. When on location, during the day time I recce the area thoroughly and make a list of spots which could possibly give me good shots and then I reach those spots at least an hour before sunrise or Sunset. That brings me to one very important rule which in my personal opinion is the most undervalued and is attached not much significance to.
This is something that most people sadly attach no importance to. Staying at a location for an extended period of time has tremendous advantages. By staying we come to know of the best spots to get our shots in, the spot where birds flock the most, and the spot from where that Sunrise/Sunset looks divine. Most important of them is the fact that we get multiple sessions of shooting in the mornings and evenings and hence chances of getting more and better Images in the elusive golden light. Most of the time, in the greed of covering several places in a short span, we miss on opportunities that we might possibly have. In the higher Himalayan ranges, clouds almost invariably show up in the evenings which means that one might miss an evening of shooting and given the hurry we all are in, chances are that it might be the only evening we have at a particular location.
This essentially applies to shooting birds too. Mountains, and Himalayas in particular although are abundant in birds, the expanse of area which one shoots in is immense, so unless you are going with someone who is really familiar with the area, the chances that you will stumble to a good spot (and get a good shot) in a single session of Morning or Evening is highly unlikely. Applying this single rule alone has helped me in getting a number of good shots, which I otherwise would have missed.
Apart from the advantages described above, there are a lot of ways in which one could play with golden light to create magical images using techniques such as shooting Silhouettes, shooting images with flare, shooting images in rim light etc. The thing about golden light is that it can almost be used in any genre of photography and if done religiously it’s a sure shot way to produce spectacular images consistently.
We would love to know any tips and techniques, which you might be using and would add value to the blog. Please share them in the comments below.
Summary and additional tips
- Wake up pretty early in the morning and be at your spot 1 hour before Sunrise
- Same for Sunset
- Play with Back-light, Sidelight, Rim light, Flare, Silhouettes.
- Play with exposure, don’t be afraid to Underexpose or Overexpose the shots.
- A tripod is priceless for morning and evening shots. Always carry one
- Sometimes shoot landscapes with Telephoto and Birds with Wide Angle (They both look amazing!!!!)
- Mornings and Evenings are pretty chilly, carry warm clothes and something to eat always.
- Don’t run to a thousand locations in a single day, STAY 🙂
- Know the weather of the place before you plan a trip.
- If you don’t shoot during mornings and evenings, please do and share your experiences 🙂
P.S.: I totally forgot, if you like this blog please share and don’t forget to subscribe below.
Hope this helps!!!!