Landscape Photography – Waiting for the Light

Nature and landscape photography are not for everyone. It takes perseverance to find a good location and a great deal of patience to wait until the light is just right. I find that on almost every outing I’ll waste 20% to 30% of my shots taken way too early in the evening before the light has that golden warmth to it. If you’re anything like me, you want to setup as quickly as possible and start shooting that wonderful location or subject you’ve driven so far to find. Patience you see, does not come naturally to most of us and learning to wait is just not in my Irish nature. But I’m learning and these days I’ll usually pack a light-weight folding chair and a good paperback so that I can sit comfortably while waiting for the light.

Sunsets take time. They begin with a little warmth and glow and slowly evolve into deeply saturated reds, yellows and blues. After 30 – 40 minutes more they deepen to ambers, indigos and violets and sometimes when the atmosphere is just right they sky may begin to glow a rich, deep purple before turning to true black.

So the next time you’re out looking for some great sunset shots, remember to be patient. Take one or two shots every tens minutes or so and plan to stay put for at least two hours. Let nature take it’s course and enjoy the wonderful show. Life is too short!

Late Afternoon Overlook

Late Afternoon Overlook – Kingsland, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/13 for 1/8th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done entirely in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

7 thoughts on “Landscape Photography – Waiting for the Light

  1. Jeff, do you think you could have waited just a bit longer to get that warmer light here? Light still seems a little bright/harsh here.

    You’re right does take patience, which most of us don’t have, and luck with almost none of us have!

    • Mark,

      The shot was taken at 8:00 PM on the 16th. Sunset was at 8:34 PM. Temperature was a balmy 97F. Not sure how much warmer the light could get.


  2. I agree with your assessment. This is a nice image. The only thing missing are some billowy clouds in the sky. For me, one of the greatest frustrations is getting out there and being faced with a solid blue sky. It often lacks definition. Just my two cents.

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