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Friday, July 11, 2014

Shooting In Morning Sun

Leveraging the sun's light in photography
50mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/250th, strobe 1/32 pwr

Summarizing today's post: Leveraging the sun's light, early morning outdoor photography, & off-camera lighting.

Let's spend a little more time with the idea of shooting outdoors. When it comes to photography, subtle changes in the time of day and weather conditions means you have to completely adjust how you think. I am constantly thinking--even when I don't have my camera with me--of how I would capture an image if I run across something neat as I go about my day. would I have to light this? Or...Is there enough ambient light? Or...How would I have to adjust the settings on my camera to adapt to this situation. Or...just name it.

So having said that, I wanted to devote one more post to shooting outdoors before moving on (especially since we have darn near 16 hours worth of daylight this time of year). We have touched on shooting in the evening just after sunset (see the post here), and also shooting in full-on sun midday (see here). 

So now what's left? Shooting in the early morning just after sunrise (you could also apply these principles to late day photography just before the sun sets). 

You might think that there's not much difference between shooting at 8am versus 11am, but try'll soon find out.

Now, let me divert for just a minute...

Everyone has their best times of the day when they seem to think or work better. Some folks are morning people, others are night owls. I have known people (when I was in college especially) who can stay up til 3 and 4am consistently because that's when they can get the most done. That's never been me. I have always been a morning person. If I have it my way, I'll get up at 5am everyday because that's when I can think the most clearly and can be the most productive. 

50mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/250th, strobe 1/32 pwr
Being that I am up every morning before the sun comes up, I can look outside my patio window and see the sun as it moves over the treeline. I decided one morning a couple weeks ago to try and get a few shots of Spooky (yes again...she's aspiring model I do believe) when I saw it was going to be a clear day (no clouds to hinder the sun). What a great opportunity, I thought, to show you guys how to take advantage of this special time of day.

To take advantage of such a wonderful lighting scenario, you have to change your way of thinking as compared to the last post (when taking photos in full-on sun). I can't help to think of the sun as my enemy when it's blaring down at me on a cloudless day...and I am constantly trying to 'tone it down' or control it when forced to take photos under it's bright rays.

But when the sun is low on the horizon--such as in early morning--it's no longer is your "enemy". It actually becomes your ally, your friend. No longer are you trying to shield its blaring rays. On the contrary, you can use them to your advantage. It's another way to leverage light.

So here's an example of how I (as in my last post) leveraged my available light. 

On that morning, when I saw the morning sun just peaking over the treeline, and I saw that Spooky was perched on table outside all nice and pretty...well, I took advantage of the opportunity. [By the have to always be ready when the time comes to get those great shots, they rarely fall in your lap.] 

After adjusting my camera settings to expose for the sunlight, I found my sweet spot at ISO 200, 1/250th of a second, and an aperture of f/8. I wanted to underexpose the frame just a bit before adding my own light...and f/8 was perfect. Then I stuck my strobe on a little lightstand over to the right and set it a 1/4 power. Way too bright. After taking a couple of test shots, I discovered that 1/32 was all I needed. Afterall, the strobe was only about 3 feet from her. 

After I was done playing and setting up, Spooky proceeded to walk all over the patio table and pose like she was on a fashion show catwalk. I kid you not, she was eating it up! Such a great opportunity. The sun turned out to give a nice little highlight--also called a rim light--to her right side (especially shown in the top photograph), while my added light lit up her left side. 

The photos turned out really well, I was quite pleased. I wanted to share...I hope you enjoyed.

If you are a night owl, I have a challenge for you...go to bed early one night so you can hop up early the next morning. Take a short walk around your neighborhood or just sit outside and drink your coffee. Have your camera with you (of course!)'ll be amazed at the things out there just waiting to be captured.

Thanks for reading!


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