I just love working on this category, and when I hear, see, or read something that directly relates to information I’ve been sharing with my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP or my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, it really makes me smile!!
One of my all time favorite singers is Dr. John, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend from New Orleans. One of my all time favorite songs he wrote is “Right Place Wrong Time”, and of all the quotes I’ve been sharing with all of you this one probably means the most to me.
It hits home because of the one and only time (a million years ago) I showed up at a location at sunrise all ready to shoot, only to discover that the location only received light at sunset. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad had I shown up alone with my assistants but noooooooooooo…the Art Director, agency account executive, and last but certainly nor least was the client!!!!
We were at the right place at the wrong time!!! What did I do you ask? With my tail between my legs we all got back in our cars went back to the hotel and waited until sunset. It was a bummer extraordinaire.
From that moment on I made a promise to myself that it would never happen to me again, and to this day ( a million years later) it hasn’t.
There’s two different way I approach photography: The first is if I’m just walking around a city in the US or some village in Europe or Asia either by myself or with a group from one of my workshops. If I was able to scout the locations ahead of time to see when it received the best light for the longest time all the better; if not I just showed up and just made do with the light we had.
A lot of the time we were there mid morning to mid afternoon when the sun was at it’s zenith, and for the most part it was fine as most of these old medieval towns or Asian villages had narrow streets with tall buildings surrounding them. The best advice I had at that point was to look for areas in shadow and use the contrast between light and dark to their advantage.
The second approach is the more serious approach and that is to scout all my locations ahead of time to determine exactly where the sun will come up and go down to the degree; as well as knowing where it will be all day.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been using a program called Sunpath, and a hand bearing compass called a Morin2000. It’s a far better combination that one of those apps you put on your phone…far more accurate and it’s great when shooting indoors with window light.
I don’t want to be at a location at sunrise when I should have been there at sunset. Depending on the subject matter, the idea, and the location, I might want to backlight, but on the other hand side light might be the best way to achieve what I want. If I’m really lucky, I might be able to do both.
Scouting ahead of time will also enable me to develop a shot list. Let’s say for example I’m at a large marina that’s nestled into the side of a small group of hills. My first shots would be as close to those hills as possible, then as the sun began to drop behind those same hills I would want to get as far away from the hills as I could which would by me some more time before losing the light altogether.
Let’s also say that the mega-yacht I’m suppose to shoot is moored close to the end of the marina and even closer to the hills. If the sun is coming up right behind the hills, early morning light won’t be hitting the vessel until mid morning. I don’t want to be there at sunrise, I need to be there at sunset so that late afternoon light (golden hour) will be hitting the yacht.
So, my fellow photographers the best advice I could give you is to make sure you don’t show up all excited and ready to shoot great photos only to discover that your morning has been a waste of time…be prepared!
For those of you that would like to see where my epiphany, my sudden insight into this post came from, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6RtVmc5dSE
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my upcoming workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.
Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.