Monday, 3 October 2011

Light: Project - The time of day

Exercise: Light through the day

Aim:  The aim of this exercise is to compare the effects of light on the same scene throughout the day.  The conditions needed to be consistantly sunny.

Approach and results:

It took me a long time to find the place I wanted.  I had a number of places in mind that I visited but were not suitable.  I wanted a view that would have uninterupted light across the whole scene.  I also wanted to be facing north so that the sun would go from right to left and at no point would I have the sun aiming directly at the camera.  The most open place I found was Manchester airport but it was just too far to travel to get pictures on the hour or on different days (as the weather was not consistant).  I'll bear it in mind for other exercises.  Another venue was a local park with a high viewpoint but because the trees are in leaf there is no clear view at this time of year.  The final place is also a park with a fairly mixed view including trees and buildings and has a wide and clear view north.  Another thing that attracted me was the self storage sign that is upside down.  I'm presuming it was put up facing the other way to advertise to the motorway traffic just behind and has fallen backwards?  By the time I finished the exercise it was up the right way.  I took shots more frequently at the start and end of the day as this was when the scene changed most rapidly.  15 minutes could make a hugh difference at either end of the day.

Points to note:
There are a lot of changes going on in this series of images.  Running through the pictures quickly like a flicker book made me more aware of the subtle changes that were going on!  In particular the shadows falling on the trees that I had missed.
The early morning light is quite hazy and weak and although sunny, the shadows are not at all distinct.  The scene really comes alive from about 7:45 when the sun becomes stronger and reaches the football pitch.  Before this the scene is much darker and cooler.  The early sun warms up the image which then cools down mid morning until late afternoon when it warms up again.
The red brick warehouse has a section that juts out creating a shadow that starts long on one side, slowly shrinks and the lengthens the other side throughout the day.  Also the red brick warms up later in the day.
The industrial units in the front left have corrugated roofs that become more promenent as the day goes on.  The shadows become clearer from about 4:00 onwards.
The front of B&Q is bright white early on but starts to look grey from about 12:00 onwards.
The goods warehouse on the horizon looks most dramatic early on.  The shadows even out and the blue doors become a visible part of the image at 1:00.
Long shadows fall over the football pitch later on making the picture considerably darker in the foreground.









Learning points:
There are a considerable number of changes that go on in any particular scene during the course of the day.  Although you assume you know this, actually doing this exercise makes you appreciate the extent of the changes.  When you see a spectacular landscape image you can understand the time and effort invested by the photographer and hours spent at the scene just to identify the right moment.  This can make the difference between a good shot and a great shot.

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