Sunday, 2 August 2015

Landscape photography

First idea - not bad
When I had to make a landscape photo for my photography group challenge, I got on to the internet to find out how the experts say you do it. With landscapes, I am always disappointed with the results. They never turn out right; they never look as good on the photo as in reality.

So what makes a good landscape photo?

Everywhere you look on the internet, there are tips as to how to set out a good, interesting composition and then there is the number one tip on every website, you MUST take a landscape photo in the “golden hour”.

So what is the golden hour?

There are actually two in every day and they are the first and the last hour of sunlight. I have heard of the golden hour before and tried to use it, not too successfully, mostly because I really find getting out of bed that early very difficult. The last hour of the day I have been more successful with, but in general I have avoided this rule as being too restrictive. Rules are there to be broken aren’t they?

Second idea getting there - but still lacking something
But with landscapes apparently, you can’t take a decent photo outside of these hours and so armed with this information and all the other tips I went out to find a photo opportunity - not an easy task.

Eventually Cees suggested a vineyard we know which has a lovely cadole (an old stone building) in it. I took a few photos in the middle of the day to find the best angle and then to my dismay I realised that the evening sun would not work for this shot, this was a morning golden hour job.

The vineyard at dawn
On to the internet again to find a site that could calculate the morning golden hours. Adding driving time and setting up time, I needed to leave the house at 05.30. This is art of course, so you have to suffer for it. The next day promised to be clear, so up I was at 05.30. It was 14 degrees, but even so it felt chilly. I was on site in time and I waited for the sun to appear. I was so excited when the sun hit the copse of trees on the hill behind the cadole and at that moment it had all been worth it. However, no sooner had the sun hit the copse than a cloud came in front of the sun and it was gone. An hour is a long time to wait for the sun to come out again, particularly when it doesn’t. I went home at 07.15 and bought a consolatory croissant from the baker’s shop on the way.

Blast - that's as far as the sun goes at this time of day
Two days later and this time the weather forecast predicted sun all the way through H hour. Sure enough the sun lit up the copse and then slowly but surely slid its way down the hill towards the cadole. But then, what I had feared all along, actually came to pass. There is a blooming big tree between the sun and cadole at that time of day and the golden hour sun never lights up the thing. I left at 07.30, bought a baguette from the baker's shop on my way home and had bacon and eggs on it for breakfast.

I then looked through my mid-day sun photos and saw this lovely thing, against all the rules, this is a well lit and not washed out photo of a vineyard landscape.

Let's break the rules and use the mid-day sun

It will be a while before I get up at that sort of crazy hour again to make lousy photographs.  I have to admit though that the copse looks stunning in the early light, pity about the rest of the photo though. I think I am just not cut out to be a landscape photographer.

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