Rise and Shine
The most photogenic light typically occurs at daybreak and sunset, the so-called ‘golden hours’. Therefore, if you want to capture quality landscapes that ooze with mood, set your alarm early. The sky can be colourful before sunrise, so for this assignment aim to arrive at your chosen viewpoint at least 30-45 minutes before sunrise. During spring and summer, this can require getting up painfully early. However, you will typically find locations are quiet – for example, sandy beaches will be free of footprints and no-one will get in the way of your shots.
The light and conditions seem to alter faster at sunrise than at any other time of day, so be prepared to work quickly. Don’t rush or panic though. Good preparation will help – uses a sun calculator or smartphone app to determine exactly where the sun is rising, and setup accordingly. If you wish to include the sun in your composition as it rises above the horizon consider creating a starburst (more of this in L45).
If you haven’t made the effort to shoot a sunrise before, you will find this a magical assignment; watching the sun rise and golden light flood the landscape will not only allow you to capture special photos, the experience is good for the soul too.
View the images
- Light levels will be low and shutter speeds lengthy, so carry a tripod for stability.
- Use a headlamp to help you reach your viewpoint safely and set up your camera in semi-darkness.
- If your camera is struggling to focus in the low light, shine a torch on the point you wish to focus on to help it accurately lock on.
- Headlamp, torch.
- Sun calculator and smartphone apps, for example PhotoPills.
- Neutral density (ND) graduated filter.
- When planning your shoot, allow for travelling time and calculate how long it will take you to walk to your viewpoint and setup your camera.
- Give yourself extra minutes for any unforeseen hold-ups.
- always aim to be on location at least 30-45 minutes before sunrise.
- The weather is a key consideration; too much cloud and the sun will be obscured.
- However, clear, cloudless skies can prove boring. A degree of cloud helps add colour, drama, and interest to your shots, so check the weather forecast.