Outdoor photography offers a great time to catch nature at it's best. As the day progresses, the sun is constantly changing and with those changes, the lighting and shadows change. Even the slightest of changes in the position of the sun can have a dramatic result on a landscape.
Early Morning Viewpoints
Finding viewpoints during early morning can be difficult because the sun hangs low and causes long shadows. However, with the right viewpoint, these shadows can add dramatic affects to the photo. By choosing a high viewpoint, you can capture the dramatic affect the morning's light creates. Light from the early morning’s sun creates warm tones in the picture. The sky will often have an orangish tint.
During the midday hours the sun is high in the sky. This creates shorter shadows. It can be very difficult to take pictures during midday because these shadows can appear black on the image, making it look flat and dull. To prevent this from happening, take extra note of where the sun's position is. Try taking the picture from a side angle. You will probably have to make many adjustments to eliminate the dark shadows. A few steps to the side, or to the front and back may be all you need to do.
During the evening, the sun yet again hangs low. This creates more long and dramatic shadows. The sky often glows red or orange, offering great pictures of the sky. The dramatic colors of the sky and the dark shadows are perfect contrasting colors for any outdoor image. High viewpoints are great to use to capture these effects. Taking pictures over bodies of water can offer a nice sky reflection in the water.
To help you choose a great viewpoint, you may want to do research before going out to take the pictures. Go out a few days before to watch the lighting and shadows to help you choose a great viewpoint. Anytime of day is a great time to capture nature. However, there are many benefits to taking pictures during the early morning and late evening hours of the day. The contrasting colors can isolate certain areas of landscape.
“Landscapes: Times of Day” Practical Photography by John Freeman