Why Should I know the time?
In our 24 hours a day of our life, the sun go around the earth and never stop. And for photography, it cause a movement of natural light (sun), like wear it heading, the direction it come from, and shadow differently every time. For landscape photographer (or any kind of outdoor photography) knowing how the time effecting the photograph is important. For that, it is important to understand each time of day do you can make the best of your photograph.
Of course, its gonna be different every second. But we can’t hold our camera every second, right? (or can you). So when the time to photograph? What I did, or many photographer I think, is just group the different time base on the light it make. It is simple to understand and trust me when I say, understanding this will really improve your photography.
Daytime and Midday
The hottest time of the day, midday, or what I call “I don’t want to go out, its to hot.”
Many photographer, including me think that midday or noon, is the worst time for photography. The reason because the sun is directly above your head and the light go straight down, causing shadow and underexpose your subject. Another reason is because there no interest in light. No interesting color and the sky usually just bright white. That’s why there’s not many photographer do it in the middle of the day. But my reason only because it’s too hot. Unless if you have no choice.
Now it doesn’t mean that you can’t get the best in this time. There always a way. For me, just turn it to black & white. Take my photography hunting in Jakarta for example. I did that in the middle of the day, and just simply turn it to black and white.
This time of day can be interesting or not, depend on you. Obviously there’s no sun at night, so you don’t have to bother the light direction. The question how do you photograph if there’s no light? Simple. there always artificial light come from street lamp, car light, or any kind of shiny stuff that can become your light source. One advantage of artificial light is that you can control it. And that’s what light painting photography do.
But I’m not a light painting photography, but landscape. No worry, the artificial light can create even more colorful photograph. Its because there are many light with different color. One kind of photography effect that has been applied a lot in night landscape photography is long exposure photography (it basically what light painting photography do). Because it easy and create a really beautiful colorful photograph.
Or if you’re in natural setting you can use long exposure or star light and create astrophotography.
Sunset or Sunrise
I’m sure you know this and I’m sure you have photograph at this time, a lot i think. Now, for me, sunset or sunrise is time when the light is the strongest. The sun directly align with you and you can see the sun in front of you, depend on your position. The light also create an amazing hot color (yellow, orange, to red) to the sky that landscape photographer really love.
But if you really wanted to photograph sunset or sunrise you should really prepare. Because it only lasted for at least 10 to 15 minute, depend on your location. Which isn’t really much of a time.
This two probably the least heard of. But these are my most favorite times. and many call these as the magic hours.
Just like the name said, this time of day create a blue light in the sky. At this time of day, the sun hasn’t rise or has set (depend on the time) fully causing a bright blue-purple color in the sky. It lasted for a hour at least.
Just like the name, this time of day create a golden-yellow warm color in the sky. At this time, the sun about to set or have just rise (depend on the time). Like blue hours, it lasted for a hour at least.
Every times of the day create a different effect of light that can determine your photograph. And that is why it is important to understand it. Now to put it simple, so you can understand each sequence. From the beginning of the day until the end:
Night->Blue Hours->Sunrise->Golden Hours->Daytime->Golden Hours->Sunset->Blue Hours->Night
Remember that different place create different time. For example if my place sunset at 6 pm, different place probably at 7 pm. That’s why you should understand the time where you photograph. You can find it on internet or there are many mobile app that can help you with that.