Early Mornings or Late Nights

When it comes to photography there are in my opinion two particular periods to get that wow shot; these are when the sun is close to or over the horizon.

When the sun has not risen or has just set the sky can turn a beautiful pink, orange or blue and water turns to various shades of blue or green. Sometimes you get this affect when facing away from the sunset as in the picture below facing East:

Sunset over McCormacks Bay Reserve

You can get a fairly good sunrise if there is not much cloud about, but bring out the black ones and you can get something really dramatic:

New Brighton Pier looking awesome

The thing is that with a little planning and an eye for composition most people could take this kind of shot, but most do not. You may well ask “why not” and it is because the planning for most of the time means getting up bloody early. In winter it is not too bad getting up, but there is the low temperatures and maybe a strong wind that makes it feel like -10. So part of the planning would be to wrap up warm, have a fully charged battery or batteries, an empty memory card and get to your chosen location 30 minutes or more before dawn or sunset. As the sun has not risen or is just setting, the light can be low, so pack a tripod. Another feature of these shots is that the light can throw out the light meter on the camera, so you will need to read the manual and practice setting a bracketed exposure.

The good thing with bracketed exposures is that either the normal, under-exposed or over-exposed shot will be correct. The bad thing is that you can eat up the capacity of the memory card 3x faster, but as you will have an empty card to start with and you will be only shooting for around an hour at most, things should be OK. A benefit of the bracketed shot is that with the over-exposed shot its high key lighting may suit the picture best, but you may have never have deliberately chosen to take that picture. Then again the under-exposed low key dark shot might be more dramatic and moody.

Remember that you can always delete anything you do not like when you get back home, but you cannot go back and recapture that same lighting, foliage, clouds and mood.

Low Tide


About Steve Taylor

Steve started off working with his father in the building trade as a painter & decorator before starting an apprenticeship in Telecoms. Steve was a Senior Signalling Engineer who worked for British Telecom and MCI/WorldCom in London. He was presented with the WorldCom Star Performer award for his improvements to the working systems. He was and still is a seller of real estate, but is now really enjoying the excitement that photography can bring. With photography there are only a few rules and they are mostly to do with composition. As always in life the worse the conditions the more extraordinary can be the results. If the weather is wet, cold and foggy the pictures taken will have a more surreal feel with the fog hiding the distracting backgrounds, the rain softening the colours and the cold making you more determined to get that perfect picture for freezing your butt off. One of the other strings to his bow is being able to turn a photograph into a beautiful digital painting. Give Steve a call on 021 241 3244 if you would like to talk about photography or real estate and you may also see the world in a different more exciting light.
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2 Responses to Early Mornings or Late Nights

  1. avatar Johan says:

    stunning shots! couldn’t agree more with you about making the effort to be at the right place at the right time…so often I end up getting an image that I absolutely love simply because I took the time (and made the effort) to shoot it, not because it was technically challenging.

  2. avatar Steve Taylor says:

    Hi Johan, in the days of the big plate cameras that took ages to set up, the results were often a lot better than with smaller cameras as the photographer took longer and examined the image in the viewfinder more for the best composition.

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