The edges of the day — around sunrise and sunset — are the most interesting. Yes, we all enjoy warm sunny blue-sky days, but frankly, mid-day sunshine is visually boring.
A couple of weeks ago I looked out out kitchen window about 7:30 as I was finishing my breakfast and noticed the low morning sun shining through a little fog in the garden. It was about 30 minutes after official sunrise. I figured this little light show wouldn’t last long, so I grabbed the camera I keep in the house and rushed out to the garden to capture this bit of atmospheric light show.
I made several images in a few minutes that morning, strategically placing the bright orb of the sun behind a tree to avoid lens flare. I worked the patterns of shadows from the backlit trees as I explored several compositions. This photo of one of our perennial beds is my favorite from the morning. Then the fog dissipated and I returned to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
Two nights ago Brian and I went for our evening walk in our woods to check on how all the wildflowers were coming along. As we stopped by one of my favorite patches of Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa, we noticed the low late afternoon sun skimming across the foliage.
Once again, the sunlight was coming toward us and the surrounding trees cast shadows that nearly blocked the light. Just a hint of sunlight squeezed through a gap between the trunks, creating magical highlights. This photo was made about an hour before official sunset.
Photo Note: Working at the edge of the day means long exposures and that means a tripod is essential if you want to avoid the noise that comes with using a high ISO. I much prefer a tripod, although I’ll admit that the morning fog shots were all hand held because of my rush to get out the door before the fog disappeared. The Bleeding Heart was shot at 1/20 second with a 100mm lens, impossible to hold steady even with modern lenses withimage stabilization.