Sunday, June 8, 2014

Right Place, Wrong Time of Year

The main road in Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia has a pull off with this great overlook of the valley below.

There are some fantastic compositional elements in this scene, such as the road leading from the lower left corner, the red and white barns, the curved road in the middle, and the layers of the hills in the background.  This is an OK photo, but it lacks depth because the sun was almost directly behind me and you can't see any of the shadows that can give a two dimensional photo a feeling of 3D depth.

Close up of church in the middle showing direction of the sun

I would like to shoot this again when the sun is shining from the left or right side.   But, when will be the right time?   Using one of my favorite software tools TPE (The Photographers Ephemperis) I can compare the direction of the sun from Friday to any other day.  I picked October 17 because it might be a great time for fall colors.   These two diagrams show how the direction of the sun changes with the seasons.

June 6

October 17

The red marker shows the approximate position of the barns and the dark orange line shows the direction of the sun around sunset.  The photo was taken on Grayson Highlands Lane about where the word Highlands starts.    You can see the sun was almost directly behind me on Friday, however on October 17 it will set much further to the south and will be off to my right when taking the same shot.  If all other conditions are the same the photo taken in October will be better than the one taken Friday.   I could also take the same photo just after sunrise (yellow line) in June and get some nice shadows, however I think the hills might block the sun and keep the barns in the shade until later in the morning.

Why bother figuring out all this stuff?  Because a landscape scene never looks quite the same and knowing the right time of day and the right time of year to capture the scene is important to making the best photo.  Don't be satisfied with one shot at one time.  Visualize what the shot might look like under different conditions and plan to come back and shoot it again.  I hope to be up there mid October to see if my vision matches reality.

Want to get these blog posts automatically and not miss a one?  Enter your email address in the Subscribe via Email box on the right.  You will receive a confirmation email with a link to click to confirm you really subscribed.  Once you have done these easy steps you will get a copy of any new blog posts sent directly to your mailbox.   Of course I won't spam you with junk mail, just blogs.

If you like this please share with your friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment