Urban Photography – High Noon

Convention wisdom has it that its best to shoot in the first few hours of the morning and the last few hours of the evening. The light is generally softer and warmer and the shadows much more interesting. Most magazines like National Geographic or Texas Highways won’t even consider publishing a landscape image that wasn’t taken during these “golden hours”.

So what’s a serious amateur to do with the rest of his or her time? One answer is to look for subjects or locations with enough contrast that even shots taken at high noon look interesting. Anything metal like a car or truck generally fits this profile as you can see in this image. Urban settings abound with possibilities.

Sugar Land Fire Truck

Sugar Land’s New Ladder Truck
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM hand-held. The exposure was taken at 31mm, f/11 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro plug-in filter. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Another possibility is photograph high contrast subjects and then process the images as Black & White as shown below. Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop does an incredible job converting color images into high contrast black & white images.

Sugar Land Fire Truck

Sugar Land’s New Ladder Truck
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM hand-held. The exposure was taken at 31mm, f/11 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro plug-in filter. Click on the image above for a larger version.

One thing to remember about “rules” in photography, they’re meant to be broken. Many of Ansel Adams’ most popular images like the Taos Pueblo Church (1942) were taken in the mid-day sun.

One final thought. Don’t limit your photographic explorations to only a few “golden” hours each day, no matter what anyone says. When you have the chance to go shooting, spend as much time as you can looking for locations and subjects that excite your vision and sense of adventure. The Lord has provided us an incredible planet to explore and only a short lifetime to explore it in. Grab your camera and your creative spirit and get out there.

Life is Too Short (LTS) !

2 thoughts on “Urban Photography – High Noon

  1. So glad to see someone else who isn’t afraid to break the rules. I live in south Louisiana and enjoy photographing New Orleans’ cemeteries and the midday harsh light play is not only a non-issue it’s often to the photographer’s advantage.

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