Just as important as where the light is falling is where the light is not falling. Compositions can be ruined by strong areas of shadow – but equally, they are completed by careful use of shadows, so take shadows into consideration when composing your picture.
2. Back lighting
If you take a photograph pointing directly towards the sun, the effect on your subject will be quite striking. Distant objects will seem hazier and the outline of nearer objects will appear as silhouettes against the distant haze.
3. Colour of sunlight
The colour of direct sunlight changes rapidly in the hour or so at the start and end of the day. The closer the sun is to the horizon, the nearer the colour is to the red end of the spectrum. For the rest of the day, the colour of sunlight is a fairly stable white.
Cloud cover diffuses light, making it softer, so the contrast between areas of light and shade is reduced. The thicker the cloud, the greater the softening. A fine covering of cloud can diffuse light enough to bring out delicate texture; heavy cloud produces flat light, ideal for chaotic scenes such as woodland.
5. Low light
Landscape photography needn’t stop once the sun has gone down. Often the most creative and dramatic pictures are captured in those gloomy moments when it is almost completely dark, using long exposures to capture the tiny amount of ambient light left
in the day.
6. Side lighting
It is generally preferable for the light to be coming from the side of your subject rather than directly over your shoulder. That way, you’ll be able to see the shaded side as well as the illuminated side of your subject, giving the scene more depth and three-dimensionality.
7. Different light
It can be tempting to assume that once you’ve captured a good picture in a certain light, then there’s nothing more that a scene can offer. You might capture something completely different, but equally good, in different conditions, so experiment.
8. Artificial light
It’s worth keeping an eye on the effect artificial light can have, especially when balanced with low light conditions. The colour or position of a splash of artificial light from a street lamp, torch or car headlamp might just be what makes the picture special.
Meet the photographer: James Osmond
James Osmond is an award-winning landscape photographer who loves the wilderness, working on his allotment and cricket.
Visit his website: www.jamesosmond.co.uk
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