Tutorial: Summer Light Photography

Photography needs light – and great photographs need the right light. With 15 hours or more of daylight in the summer, it is important to understand how the light affects your images.

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© Jorge Borges 2012, Canon EOS 600D

This tutorial will talk through how light changes and how to take advantage of it:

• The golden hours
• Shadow play
• Changing light
• White balance
• Shooting modes

The golden hours
In photography, only two of the daylight hours are considered special – the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. These are called the golden hours.

When the sun rises or sets, it is near the horizon. This means that the light travels through more of the atmosphere than when the sun is overhead. Water particles in the air absorb and scatter blue wavelengths. The greater the distance the light travels through the atmosphere, the less the amount of blue light reaching the ground. This is why early morning and late evening light is warmer – it takes on a golden hue which suits many subjects such as landscapes and buildings.

However, you might have more or less than 60 minutes available – it depends where you are in the world. Close to the equator, the sun rises quickly and you will have less than an hour of golden light. Near to the poles, there are times when the sun never rises much above the horizon and the golden hour can last all day.

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