When the light is low, many photographers head back to their vehicles and call it a night. At dawn, many photographers wait for the first hint of the sun’s illumination to press the shutter. I share with you some tricks and insight on how to extend your productive photographic hours. Learn to make images at dawn, dusk and during the night with these low-light photography tips.
My business tagline is, “It’s All About The Light.” For me, light is the key ingredient that makes or breaks an image. If the light is awful, even the most iconic mountain range or sea stack looks flat. A photo of a regal lion posed against an ugly gray sky won’t bring oohs and aahs from the crowd. I’d rather photograph a mundane subject in amazing light than a great subject in flat light. A spectacular sunrise or sunset over a prairie will make viewers look twice at that image. Replace the regal lion with a common jackal perched on that same rock, bathed in first light with a clean sky behind it, and it will create a successful photograph.
I absolutely love to shoot at “the edge of the day.” Before the sun rises and after it sets, if the conditions are right, a pink earth shadow on the opposite horizon of the setting or rising sun occurs. Clouds can form electric color or an alpenglow can set the sky ablaze. This is when I look for silhouettes with interesting shapes or forms.
With regards to exposure, meter off the sky, especially if there are some bright yellows or oranges. In checking the histogram, be sure you activate the RGB and Luminosity histograms. Base the exposure off your Red channel for two reasons: a) warm tones are the most sensitive to record; b) if they’re blown out, they’ll be void of detail. Continue to quickly make more images as the magic doesn’t last long.