SUNRISE AND SUNSET
The largest changes of natural light are at sunrise and sunset. We have to separate
out what is the light source and the scene that we are shooting. Go out an experience
some sunrises and sunsets. Take your camera, light meter, and notebook and see
At sunrise the sky (a SCENE) first becomes a bright enough to shoot in the East.
It is usually purple. If there is dust and smog in the air it then becomes pink,
clouds can be deep red, go to orange and then silver when the sun hits the clouds
themselves. The eastern sky soon becomes bright enough of a LIGHT SOURCE to
light the sky, earth and objects in the North south and west. Objects in the
East continue to be shilloettes against the bright eastern sky. Until the sun
comes up, the sky is the source of light.
Objects to the North, South and West are well balanced with the sky before the
sun comes up. Although light from the Eastern sky is flat looking to the West,
it can be magic.
The sun itself is a photographable SCENE only when it first comes over the horizon
and if it is obscured by the atmosphere, smog and dust. It very soon becomes
a SOURCE much brighter than the sky around it and the SCENE is too contrasty
to photograph. The sun, not the sky becomes the major SOURCE of light for things
in the North, South and West. If there are clouds, the sun can be photographed
when it is higher, if obscured enough by clouds. (DON'T LOOK AT A BRIGHT SUN
WITH YOUR EYES OR CAMERA.)
So the sequence of shooting a sunrise might be. First shilloettes shapes against
purple light in eastern sky. Watch for enough light to expose tape or film in
the West for people or objects. The light before sunrise can be very beautiful.
Once the sun is up, plan to shoot North, South or West. Things will be shilloette
to the East for some time. The sky will be too bright (hot) for some time. If
you select things that are edge lit against a shadowed background, not the sky,
they are very shootable. Avoid the sky.
Things change in the reverse at sunset and are a bit more predictable.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.