Tag Archives golden hour

Hello one and all! It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, here at ScottKelby.com where Scott gets the day off and I jump in to lay down something from the world of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life! Today, it’s all about photography with a little bit of travel – I want to show you something awesome I found recently in Montenegro.

Arizona has Horseshoe Bend at the edge of the Grand Canyon, but it turns out Montenegro has its own, green version. Pavlova Strana is a viewpoint way above the horseshoe bend of the Rijeka Crnojevica River, meandering through to Lake Skadar. Last week, I had a little road trip shooting around Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro and this viewpoint was one of my stops.

Now, there’s a whole load of people out there telling us that we should be shooting at sunrise and sunset, but if we do it right, we can get some great images in the bright, midday sun as well. Don’t believe me? Well, one method we can employ is the sunny 16 rule. What this means, in short, is that we should set up a balanced exposure with an aperture of f/16 and we will have a well-exposed image.

With our aperture set at f/16, we simply need a shutter speed that is the inverse of the ISO. If we are at ISO 100, we need a shutter speed of 1/100th. If we’re at ISO 200, we need to shoot a shutter speed of 1/200th. It’s as simple as that!

The thing is, as with all the rules, the rules are there as a guideline. If we break away from golden hour, be it because we simply cannot be at a certain location then or for any other reason, we can switch to the sunny 16 rule to effectively capture good images in bright sunshine. The sunny 16 rule tricks your camera, which is in fact falling for a trick in the first place. Here’s the secret: your camera is being tricked into metering reflected light which, in bright sunlight, causes it to read the scene incorrectly because of harsh highlights and shadows. This means it reads the scene as being brighter or darker than it actually is. We’re bypassing that system with the sunny 16 rule, balancing the scene much better than relying on metering at smaller apertures in such lighting conditions.

If we learn to use the sunny 16 rule, creating balanced images in bright, midday sunlight can be so much easier. I’m glad to have helped!

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here today (and every Tuesday) with some photography wisdom for you. This week, I’m in Croatia! I arrived a couple of days ago and, so far, I’ve also hopped some borders and checked out Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. If you were wondering—they’re beautiful!

I caught sunrise in Mostar, Bosnia, and framed up a lovely series of shots down the Neretva River of the town’s famous bridge. Now, I arrived before sunrise and caught the sun coming up over the bridge, then I drove half an hour down the road to Blagaj Tekija, a monastery on a beautiful pool next to a cliff edge, built by Dervish monks in the 16th Century. The reason I’m telling you this is to point out something that photographers don’t necessarily always consider when shooting sunrise and sunset situations, and that thing is this: –

The sunrise and sunset times will vary if you’re in mountains! Yes, simple, right? My pro tip for you if you don’t know the actual sunset time is to hold your clenched fist out, thumb up, to the horizon. Because of the beautiful piece of nature that is the golden equation, the God number, the divine proportion, whatever else you want to call it, the sun will sink approximately the distance your fist occupies every hour. Therefore if the sun is one fist’s height above the mountain next to you, you have about an hour until sunset!

(That’s a top-secret pro tip, don’t tell anyone!)

So, although it may seem simple, it may not actually be considered. Mountains and other such high terrain affect the sunrise and sunset, which is something I took full advantage of in Bosnia and Herzegovina by having two sunrises!

If you were wondering, sunrise totally beats sunset! That time of day is calm, relaxed, the rest of the world hasn’t woken up yet, there’s no traffic to get where you’re going, when you get there you can always find a place to park, and the light is amazing. It’s just all-around better!

Much love

Dave

Good Tuesday, one and all! This week for #HybridDaveTuesdays, on #TravelTuesday here at ScottKelby.com, I’ll share a little bolt on to a previous post about shooting in the cold from a couple of weeks ago. It’s something particularly useful if you’re planning a shoot in the high Arctic areas of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, or Iceland, so if any of these places are on your list during the winter, make sure to pay attention and tell all your friends!

There is a lot said about golden hour and blue hour in our world. You’ll struggle, in fact, to get through a photography tutorial without hearing one of those phrases. The reason for this post is to share with you my experiences in losing the ‘hour’ from these terms during the Arctic winters I’ve experienced and arming those of you who are planning to visit the far north (or south) with the knowledge you’ll need for planning your time.

The Arctic winter is a funny thing. Right now, everything from 66 degrees north and up has no sunrise – they said goodbye to the sun a short time ago and look forward to seeing it again sometime in January.

 

Jökulsárlon, Iceland at 1pm and zero degrees

 

The absence of a sunriseliterally changes everything we know of blue hour and golden hour, and that means, we have to change the way we think. Daylight hours are much shorter, affording us drastically less time to get any bright daylight shots. Everything is darker, but that’s just the start of it!

What happens to the sun during an arctic summer is pretty strange – it just bobs up and down in the sky, never setting for weeks. Arctic winters are the polar opposite – the sun bobs up and down BELOW the horizon, never really rising, but still providing some light depending on how far into the cycle you are. At the beginning and end of winter, the sun pokes above the horizon, and as you get toward the middle of winter, it gets further and further below the horizon.

What this makes us notice is that twilight sort of period – the bit right between golden hour and blue hour – hangs around for longer. A lot longer, in fact. The whole day, at times, can be akin to a sunrise or sunset, casting an ambient glow across the landscape for hours with virtually no direct light.

Solheimasandur, Iceland at 11:30am and -4 degrees

 

It really is important as a photographer to be aware of the sunrise and sunset times when visiting the Arctic, particularly the high Arctic, and plan properly around it – especially when you consider that you could potentially lose light earlier during snowstorms!

The bonus, on top of having this tranquil sunset-esque light all day, is having awesome colours and tones alongside noticeably less harsh shadows. Of course, I couldn’t give you a bonus without bringing you back down with a thud, so I’ll also tell you about it being a lot darker. Our eyes, the wonderful things that they are, adjust appropriately to the lack of light, but trust me – when you start sorting your camera settings, you’ll notice from the ISO and shutter speeds that you’ll have to select that it’s a lot darker than you think!

When the sky looks blue, but you can see all the stars, is just when you realise this, and it’s great that blue hour hangs on in there for longer!

 

3pm and -12 degrees in Finnish Lapland

 

My advice to consider, if you’re travelling to the higher or lower latitudes on a photography mission, is to pay very close attention to sunrise and sunset times and plan your days carefully around them. Make back up plans, scout locations, and take advantage of anything that presents itself to you…here’s why:-

I’d visited Strokkur before and captured a sequence of shots showing its aquatic eruption. I’d made the shot some time ago, so I wanted to get back and improve on it. Here’s the shot I’m talking about:-

Problem is that when I got there, I was fighting through a blizzard, unable to feel my nose, and was struggling to get a clean shot. Here’s me with my buddy John Parry to give you a feel:-

The situation had ruined my plan, but making the most of the change in conditions and lessening daylight hours, I caught a scene which has become one of my favourite shots ever:-

 

The extreme north can be so beautiful, but simultaneously so harsh and unexpected. Be forearmed and expect the unexpected – you can really maximise on it and capture its awesomeness!

Much love

Dave

Close