Exercise: Light through the day (TAoP)

Find a landscape scene with a fairly definite subject that will catch the sunlight even when the sun is close to the horizon.  It needs to offer a good, clear view that is lit throughout the day, perhaps containing an isolated building.  Photograph the scene from dawn to dusk, taking at least one per hour, and more at the end of the day when the light is changing faster.  From the processed results, choose one photograph that you consider the best and is this the same one you would have chosen at the time?  If not why not?   

I was not totally confident in this exercise as I picked to do this on a day that had a mixed forecast…sods law really!

However, after looking at the results i was intrigued by the on/off presence of cloud. It is known that cloud diffuses light, and while the course notes ask for a sunny day, i felt that my shots demonstrate both. There are several strong sun pictures.

I paid particular attention to the shadows cast during the day as this helps to a) identify the position of the sun (the sun was not obviously visible in the sky from my location) and b) to demonstrate the different strength of sun, i.e whether it was peaking through cloud or not.



At 8.30 the sun is evident, as there are shadows to the bottom right corner – they are shadows of objects (trees) that are not actually in shot, hinting to the suns position. There was a degree of haze and the sky appears white. As sunrise is at least an hour earlier the sun has not yet reached its optimum height. The white building opposite is well lit, while the balconies to the left are in shadow. This would mean that the sun is roughly behind the camera, lighting the white building, and the building to the left is in the shade of the building I took the shots from.




At 9.30 the cloud has crept in, resulting in the whole shot being in shade. There is no shadow anywhere. The haze appears to have lessened and the sky has a slight blue hue to it.



At 10.30 there seems to be both sunlight and shade. the white building is lit but the foreground is shaded. This is perhaps due to the sun’s movement, as it is passing behind the building i’m shooting from, resulting in sunlight creeping over the top and hitting the buildings in the distance.




At 11.30 the sunlight is evident in almost all of this shot, and the balcony to the left is beginning to be in direct sunlight. There is a degree of shadow on the pavement, cast from the tree just off centre. Taking into account the shadow of the tree, the shadows on the paving and the fact that the balcony is now coming out of the shade, we can estimate that the sun is now behind the camera and to the left. It is slightly misleading as there are several buildings surrounding this shot which result in some shadows not being instantly recognisable as they are out of shot.


At 12.30pm the sun should now be at it’s highest, but there is cloud present – It’s not perhaps as strong as in earlier shots as there is a slight shadow being cast from the tree.



At 1.30pm There is heavy cloud (I almost packed up as it looked like it was about to rain) the whole shot is in darkness. Obviously this can be corrected by altering the exposure in post processing.




At 2.30 we have light! The white building is in direct light, and the suns position has changed – it is now moving behind the building on my left – resulting in the balcony that was earlier creeping out of the shade plummeting back in. There’s much more shadow on the paving indicating the direction of sunlight.



At 3.30 there’s cloud again – not as much as earlier, but it is instantly obvious by looking at the white building which now appears rather dark/dull.




Again at 4.30 there is a blanket of cloud, slightly less than before as the white building appears lighter, and so does the pavement. There is a hint of shadow coming from the small white wall around the tree.



At 5.30 there is quite a bit of cloud, and there are no shadows apart from a hint of one coming from the wall by the tree. The white building again looks dull. The balconies to the left are now brighter than they have been, indicating that the sun is positioned to their left.



At 6.30 the image takes on a warmer feel and a slightly orange hue has appeared at the top right of the image, indicating that the sun is just out of shot. This also indicates that the sun is starting to set, as evening sunlight is much warmer. The white building is now fairly bright and well lit.



At 7.11pm the sky appears yellow and the image is dark. No shadows are present and the building is now starting to look extremely dark. The sun’s position is still just out of shot, just behind the balcony at the top left.


At 7.25pm the sky still appears yellow, and the foreground is all in shade and starting to get darker. It is now quite difficult to distinguish objects in the walled area.



At 7.33pm the sun is behind the dark brown building that appears in-between the two balconies on the left. Again the image is getting increasingly more dark, and this could be altered in post processing software.




Not a vast difference at 7.40, buildings are now using electrical lighting (the Audi garage in the far distance) and the street lighting has come on. At this stage the sky still appears fairly bright and blue.



The final shot at 7.50pm gives off the feeling that the sun is low in the sky, and near to setting. The majority of the foreground is now hard to distinguish and far too dark. There is a small bit of lighting but again this is artificial.

Overall I’m fairly pleased with these results as they do demonstrate the objective. I found it interesting trying to track the sun and predict it’s positioning. This is definitely something that i will be considering with all my photography from now on. Sometimes i think i am too hasty in taking a shot, and don’t really assess my available light. I would love to expand this further and start shooting at sunrise.

As for which photograph is my favourite, i would have to choose the shot at 2.30pm as this demonstrates gorgeous blue sky, bright sunlight and shadows. However, there are areas that are too dark and i would alter these in photoshop. A close second is the picture taken at 6.30pm as i really like the orange hue that has appeared, and the sky looks interesting.

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