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“The best way out is always through.”

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Linger with the Light

Very often when I'm out shooting, I arrive at a location an hour or so before I am actually planning to shoot. This gives me plenty of time to compose carefully and also gives me time to wait for the right light. Often I'll just pull out a lawn chair and sit next to my tripod, waiting. If I'm in a touristy area or photographing a famous landmark, other photographers will drive up, shoot a quick picture and drive away. I'm sure they wonder why I'm just sitting there reading with a camera on a tripod next to me.

The truth is that the best lighting happens just before the sun sets and the golden yellow rays are scuttling low across the landscape. This beautiful late light often ignites subjects, as it has with this Maine lighthouse (Nubble Light near York, Maine), especially if there is a dark or cloudy sky behind it, and I find it the most beautiful and gentle light of the day. Often too, the sun will come and go from behind clouds late in the day and while other photographers think the show is over when the sun disappears, I'm happy to wait to see if it makes one more appearance before it sets.

If you're out shooting toward the end of the day, linger and wait for the light a while. You'll get a lot of nice surprises if you do it often enough and you'll have everyone wonder why in the world you're sitting there waiting.

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