Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.


Capricious luminosity in the Grand Canyon
Localized moisture creates a rainbow in an area with distinct spots of light.
The biggest of the biggest
The Hellisheidi geothermal plant, the most powerful in the world, with a production capacity of 303 MW of electricity and 400 MW of hot water.
cows in fog
Cows bar the way to traffic in the fog from the top of the island.
From day to night
Sun sets west of Playa Benijo, southwest of Tenerife.
Sunset over Pacific Ocean
Catamaran passengers admire the distant sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.

It is probably not new: the term photograph originally means, from the Greek, to paint with light.

With more or less processing and more or less electronics, that's what any camera does.

Light in Photography is therefore crucial.

And if the selection of the situation or the scenery or landscape are important for that “painting”, the choice of light that illuminates them is equally important. After all, a good combination of these elements makes for the best photographs.

We know that light can be of natural or artificial origin. In this article, we're just going to dedicate ourselves to explaining to you three of the main variables that influence the greater hardness or softness of sunlight.

We start with four unavoidable notions about Light in Photography:

1- Light is made up of several wavelengths – dark blue; light blue; green yellow; Red; orange and its variants. These wavelengths and as such light change all the time.

The change is due to several factors but mainly due to the position of the sun in relation to the terrestrial horizon and to the weather.

2- The more oblique the sun is to the horizon, the softer and warmer the light. This is because the more oblique it is, the more atmosphere it has to pass through the sun's rays. 

The atmosphere scatters the bluish wavelengths of light and lets it pass in dust.dominating the reds and oranges.

3- Natural light with a predominance of “warm” tones (oranges and yellows) and little contrast – because it is very filtered by the atmosphere – is what we call soft.

It is, as a rule, the most valued for a wide range of photographic purposes. 

4 - The cloud layer blocks and “cools” light reaching the Earth's surface so everything you read below does not apply on foggy or overcast days.

Meteorology aside, let's see when we're supposed to have the softest and hardest light when it comes to:

time of day

On days with clear or slightly cloudy skies, shortly after sunrise and just before sunset, these are times when natural light will be softer and better. 

During and just after sunset, it is normal for the sky, the clouds (also its reflection in the water) to be covered with pink or magentas. Are colored by a kind of “remnants” of light direct of the sun.

À As the Earth rotates, these tones fade and are replaced by a darker and darker bluish, then dark.

On the contrary, the worst time to shoot in soft light will always be, by theory, midday and the remaining hours of the day when the sun is at its highest. 

Time of Year and Latitude 

The interaction of the height of the year or season of the year (Translation of the Earth) with the latitude makes the logic of the time of day much more complex than described above.

With the necessary caveat for the long winter in the Arctic and Antarctic extremes where sunlight is practically non-existent, the higher the Latitude (close to the poles) the smoother and better the natural light will be.

It's just not because these places have their own summer.

In the summer of the top and bottom of the Earth, sunlight falls directly on for many hours (less obliquely than at other times of the year). 

In the summer months of northern or southern places, the light is practically continuous (it can last up to 22, 23 hours a day in June in places like the Alaska, to Lapland or Tierra del Fuego).

If the sky is clear, it may happen that, at these times, several hours are of harsh light, too intense if, for example, it is reflected by snowy ground. 

On the other hand, many others will be of soft light since the sun remains for a long time low above the terrestrial horizon.

On the contrary, in Ecuador (0º latitude) and contiguous latitudes:

There are no seasons – there may be monsoons. Sunrise and sunset (approximately 6:18 and XNUMX:XNUMX) vary little.  

You can count on about 12h of daily light, a little more or less à As the latitude increases and the distance from that part of the Earth varies from the sun. 

Viewed in a simplified way: in equatorial or tropical areas directly exposed to the sun or in summer from intermediate latitudes, such as, for example, Portugal (or the Uruguay, in the Southern Hemisphere) the hours of the day with soft light are from shortly after dawn to 9:30 am or 10 am and from 15:30 pm to 16 pm at sunset.

And summarizing everything we saw above, following the same logic, a combination of latitude and height where we are guaranteed soft light will be, for example:

in the first days of the year – end of winter, in the higher boreal latitudes. In this case, the weak and short-lived sunlight increases significantly from day to day.

Altitude

The true color of the sky is black. During the day, we look at the sky illuminated and colored blue above all by the scattered bluish spectrum of sunlight.

Only à As altitude increases, the air becomes thinner. As it is more rarefied, it disperses less and less of this spectrum.

As a result, the sky becomes less blue and blacker. this can to affect the brightness of images that are underexposed (darkened).

The effect is perfectly visible at altitudes from 3.500 to 4.000 meters.

PRACTICAL CASES OF LIGHT MANAGEMENT IN PHOTOGRAPHY

Because they directly influence both the spectrum and duration of light as well as the weather, latitude and time of year are the first factors to influence the type of photographic work you will find on a given trip.

It is one thing to travel to the equator where the sun is guaranteed to rise around 6 am and set around 18 pm.

Another thing is traveling to the Iceland on June 20, when there is light 24 hours a day.

Thus, we have learned from experience that:

In equatorial and tropical countries

1- The ideal is to wake up as early as possible, preferably before sunrise and make the most of the soft light that goes from dawn to 9:30 am to photograph landscapes, scenery, situations, portraits in the softest possible light.

2 - From 11am onwards and until practically 16pm, except for some exceptional places, it will be difficult to continue to achieve this with good quality.

You can take advantage of this period to cover a dense tropical forest (the only time the light is likely to enter), certain specific alleys of a colonial city, images of translucent sea (better with the sun at full), closed markets or other interiors.

Otherwise, it's a good time to organize next days of work or rest.

3 - From 16 pm to 16:30 pm onwards is again a crucial time of day for good photographic work.

In the summer of a northern or southern country

1 – The fact that there is probably light 24 hours a day raises problems in the selection of work and rest times.

For a start, don't forget that the “time bands” of sunrise and sunset almost always create special luminosities.

Organize your work and rest time so that you are available for both.

2- If you have this privilege, guide your work according to the pleasure that the discovery is giving you.

In this type of geographical and seasonal framing, it is easy to find yourself physically on the skids without having taken advantage of the place without being “behind” the camera precisely because it went into “automatic mode” and photographs obsessively fascinated by the place.

3 – Another important issue: places located at high latitudes have complicated and unstable weather conditions.

Preferably, keep yourself with access to the Internet, informed about what is expected for each place and available to travel to the places where the best weather is expected.

4- Take advantage of periods of heavy and unequivocally long rain to rest.

The period of demobilization or storm relief almost always offers special luminosity.

Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Jaffa, Israel

Where Tel Aviv Settles Always in Party

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Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Safari
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal,

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Adventure
Volcanoes

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Jumping forward, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Pentecost Naghol: Bungee Jumping for Real Men

In 1995, the people of Pentecostes threatened to sue extreme sports companies for stealing the Naghol ritual. In terms of audacity, the elastic imitation falls far short of the original.
Frederikstad-Saint-Croix-American-Virgin-Islands-Freedom
Cities
Frederiksted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Emancipation City of the Danish West Indies

If Christiansted established itself as the capital and main commercial center of the island of Saint Croix, the “sister” of the leeward side, Frederiksted had its civilizational apogee when there was the revolt and subsequent liberation of the slaves that ensured the colony's prosperity.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Culture
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Sport
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Creel, Chihuahua, Carlos Venzor, collector, museum
Traveling
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
Ethnic
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

bangka, lake kayangan, coron, busuanga, philippines
History
Coron, Busuanga, Philippines

The Secret but Sunken Japanese Armada

In World War II, a Japanese fleet failed to hide off Busuanga and was sunk by US planes. Today, its underwater wreckage attract thousands of divers.
boat party, margarita island, PN mochima, venezuela
Islands
Margarita Island ao Mochima NP, Venezuela

Margarita Island to Mochima National Park: a very Caribbean Caribe

The exploration of the Venezuelan coast justifies a wild nautical party. But, these stops also reveal life in cactus forests and waters as green as the tropical jungle of Mochima.
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Winter White
Iceland

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Kukenam reward
Literature
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

Persist on top of Mte. Roraima extraterrestrial scenarios that have withstood millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never set foot on it.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Nature
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Hell's Bend of Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Natural Parks
fish river canyon, Namíbia

The Namibian Guts of Africa

When nothing makes you foreseeable, a vast river ravine burrows the southern end of the Namíbia. At 160km long, 27km wide and, at intervals, 550 meters deep, the Fish River Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Africa. And one of the biggest canyons on the face of the Earth.
Aswan, Egypt, Nile River meets Black Africa, Elephantine Island
UNESCO World Heritage
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Characters
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Drums and Tattoos
Beaches
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
orthodox procession
Religion
suzdal, Russia

Centuries of Devotion to a Devoted Monk

Euthymius was a fourteenth-century Russian ascetic who gave himself body and soul to God. His faith inspired Suzdal's religiosity. The city's believers worship him as the saint he has become.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
emperor akihito waves, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan
Society
Tokyo, Japan

The Emperor Without Empire

After the capitulation in World War II, Japan underwent a constitution that ended one of the longest empires in history. The Japanese emperor is, today, the only monarch to reign without empire.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Wildlife
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
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