Author Topic: Shooting outside: timing  (Read 904 times)

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Offline Desmo

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Shooting outside: timing
« on: October 05, 2010, 07:14:09 PM »
What time of the day do you shoot images outside?

In the 'good old days' we were 'taught' to shoot outside when the sun was low in the sky to make sure there was a nice amount of modelling light on subjects, In particular, portraits outside using daylight seem to benefit from this regime.

I wonder how practical that is for most people. We are all keen on shooting images and we take them wherever and whenever we are. Many images I see on the internet may be a true representation of the scene, but are not particularly eye catching, and that would seem to be more likely when taken near noon.

I love travel shooting and the time of day is a particular issue for this: we are in a scene at any time of the day and we want to capture what we see. i used to have a general rule:'put the camera away at lunchtime'.

Winter is a great time to shoot outside as the sun is never directly above. However, the low light and deep shadows provide their own issues. particularly when using long lenses.

Now I might shoot with flash fill light even for scenery or market shots at mid-day or if I can; shoot infrared.
I still love early morning light best and evening or late afternoon light next best. The modelling light at the beginning and end of the day often needs control with some kind of fill light (reflector of flash) but the ability of Sony cameras to improve shadow detail through the Dynamic Range Optimiser (DRO) is a gift at these times.

For work shots again we often have little to no control over time of day. I'm shooting a mountainbike event in a few weeks. It will be shot from late morning to early afternoon: the 'worst' time of day. I'll be using flash for three reasons:

1. because I'm shooting in a darkish forest
2. because the riders will mainly be looking down and their faces will be in shaow
3. because I want to show movement AND stop the action (rear curtain sync)

In November I shoot an annual national horticulture competition (Young Horticulturist of the Year http://www.hortito.org.nz/) most of the images on the site are from my shots over the years.
The competition starts around 8.30am and runs until about 3pm. I almost always shoot with fill flash as the organisers want clear identifiable faces and shadows are a sewrious issue given that again, the competitors are often looking down.

Obviously then, there are techniques to use that reduce the effect of a light source directly above the subject. I wonder if there is a shooting theme in this?