If you are into landscape photography, you probably already know the best time to capture landscape colors is during sunrise and sunset. But did you know how fast light condition could change during sunrise and sunset? And how that will affect the colors you capture?
I’ve recorded a short video showing you how colors change within 10 minutes during my recent Yosemite National Park photo trip. That’s why it’s extremely important to plan your landscape photo shoot with a few known factors in mind.
What’s the weather?
Lots of landscape photographers including myself love clouds, because they can reflect the colors of the sun, add layers and textures to your landscape photo, and even create drama. However, heavy clouds could also be a nightmare. They cloud block the sun and cause your landscape subject to be in the shade and look dull. They could make things unpredictable – when you will capture colors and if you will capture colors at all if the sun stays behind the clouds. So other than the skills, you also have to rely on your “luck”.
Is the sun behind you blocked by another mountain?
If you want to photograph a mountain, and the sun is behind you – it sounds great, doesn’t it? You think you’ll definitely capture the colors. But wait, do you have a mountain behind you blocking the sun? If yes, it’s likely you are standing in a valley (like my case in the Yosemite Valley). You can still capture colors, but depending on the height of the mountains in front of you and behind you, and the distance between you and the mountains (which will affect the angles of the sunlight), sometimes you can only capture the colors at the mountain tips, sometimes not at all.
I also have documented my own process of 7 Ways to Maximize Your Chance To Photograph In the Right Place At the Right Time. There are lots of practice involved to skillfully judge whether you will see the colors, how and where to photograph them.