The difference Golden light makes to an Image can be very clearly seen with the example above. Both the Images are of a Streaked Laughing-thrush shot at eye level early in the morning. As can be seen golden light has added magic to the Image on the right. The image on the left though sharp looks very dull.

The difference Golden light makes to an Image can be very clearly seen with the example above. Both the Images are of a Streaked Laughing-thrush shot at eye level early in the morning. As can be seen golden light has added magic to the Image on the right. The image on the left though sharp looks very dull.

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).

The same Crimson-bird shot on two different days, the left one on a cloudy day and the next one the following day when the sun was just rising.

The same Crimson-bird shot on two different days, the left one on a cloudy day and the next one the following day when the sun was just rising.

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.

The above is an Image of Chandrashila Temple taken at two different times. The left one was taken at around 10AM in the morning, the right one just when the sun was rising. The left Image though identical lacks the appeal which the right one has due to the colors of the early morning light.

The above is an Image of Chandrashila Temple taken at two different times. The left one was taken at around 10AM in the morning, the right one just when the sun was rising. The left Image though identical lacks the appeal which the right one has due to the colors of the early morning light.

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.

Two Images of the same majestic Himalayan range, shot from the same spot on the same day, the only difference, one was shot in daylight and the other one when the sun was setting. Looks like Nature opened up its box of colors and painted all over :-)  

Two Images of the same majestic Himalayan range, shot from the same spot on the same day, the only difference, one was shot in daylight and the other one when the sun was setting. Looks like Nature opened up its box of colors and painted all over 🙂

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.

STAY!!!!

For the above shot I camped for 4 days, this peak got enveloped in clouds every evening, finally on my last day of camping the clouds finally cleared and this was the view

For the above shot I camped for 4 days, this peak got enveloped in clouds every evening, finally on my last day of camping the clouds finally cleared and this was the view

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.

The afterglow of the setting sun painted the sky pink

The afterglow of the setting sun painted the sky pink

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.

My favourite shot of this beautiful bird just as the sun was rising to the left, notice how the color of the moss on the tree appears so saturated, normally its dull dark green in color.

My favourite shot of this beautiful bird just as the sun was rising to the left, notice how the color of the moss on the tree appears so saturated, normally its dull dark green in color.

This and a lot more fun and information sharing happens at our Birding and Landscape workshops in the Himalayas. Details here

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!!!!


1 Comments


Shooting on a Tripod – Creative PraveenCreative Praveen Reply November 29, 2015

[…] This blog is Part 3 of some of the tips and techniques which i personally consider critical to making good images. Please do read the first two blogs of “Shooting at Eye Level” and “Shooting in Golden light”  […]


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