March 27, 2017

Taking Photos Outside of The Golden Hour

Filed under: photography, Thailand, Travel — spanjavan @ 12:35 am

It is a conventional wisdom that the optimum time window to get good shots is around sunrise or sunset, generally referred to as the golden hour.  The condition becomes less ideal as the sun is higher up in the sky.  There are even suggestions that outside of this window, you should just enjoy other activities instead.

As a hobbyist, photography is just part of what I do when I travel during my time off from work, which happens only a few times a year.  I also rarely travel alone.  I take advantage the golden hour when I can, and when it’s not in conflict with other activities.  However, I can’t afford to limit my photo activity to just a narrow window.  I do believe that good shots are possible throughout the day (and night).  As long as there is light, there are opportunities to take photos.

My approach is to take my camera with me when we go on our outings. I have a medium camera bag that is small enough not to get in the way and big enough for my APS-C mirrorless plus a few lenses.   My lenses cover the focal length from 10 to 70 mm. I use a wrist strap for the camera and pretty much leave the lens cap off.  I feel like I can respond more quickly and have more positioning flexibility with the camera in my hand rather than hanging around my neck.

The Sitting Buddha in the Nakhon Lampang below is almost 100 ft tall.  This HDR photo was taken in the middle of a hot afternoon.  I lied down flat on my back and aim almost directly up to get this composition. This harsh lighting condition would typically considered as unsuitable for photo taking.


The photo below is of a bluebonnet field in Ennis, Texas.  I took this photo late in the afternoon under a partly cloudy sky.  The camera was positioned just a few inches above the flowers. The soft light from the cloudy sky was a bit flat, but there were enough visual elements to make the picture interesting.  There are only two dominant shades in this photo but they complement one another really well.


Below is a train track at the Railway station in Nakhon Lampang shot sometime in the mid afternoon under a partly cloudy sky with some sunlight managed to shine through.  Several parallel straight lines created visual diagonal lines toward a converging point further inside the picture.


Below is the Klong Dan floating market in southern Thailand.  It’s located partly in the Song Khla Province and partly in the Nakhon Si Thammarat Province.  This is a popular floating market for the locals.  I took this photo around 3 pm under an overcast sky.  I took advantage of water reflection and spatial separation between the row boat and the rest of the scene in the background.  I used a prime lens with the aperture wide open to take advantage of the separation and to keep only the row boat in focus.


Below is the interior shot of the main chapel of the Marble Temple in Bangkok.  I took this shot in the early afternoon.  Pattern on the floor created suggested diagonal lines leading to the principle Buddha Statue. By being inside, I totally avoided dealing with the harsh sunlight.  Instead, the windows on both sides created a soft indirect light that nicely blended with the artificial light sources inside.


Good lighting conditions can exist throughout the day.  It’s just a matter of conditioning our eyes to see these lights photographically.  Even harsh light can sometimes create an interesting visual effect. The ability to capture good photos in different places throughout the day allows you spend time with your friends and family and enjoy shooting photos at the same time.

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