Waiting for Light...

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by photomc, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    After looking at scootermm's (Matt) school house in the gallery and the discussion we started about the light....nice bit of thought there Matt (first day of Winter, not going to ask how you came up with that....would probably make my head hurt :wink: ). Anyway, I am currently waiting for the sun to make it's annual trek across the sky - to shoot one of the doors here at home. Like a dummy did not write down the date anywhere and now have to wait.
    Recall reading where Abbott or Bernhard did that very thing for one of their works...saw the light reflecting off of a glass door knob made a note of the date, and a year later photographed it.

    So, the question is ......drum roll..... do you every make note of a scene and return to it at a different time of day, month, ,year to photograph the same thing in - the good light?
     
  2. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    Yes I do. There is a shot that I have taken once and want to shoot again with a larger format camera. It must be in November and it must be at about 7:00am on a weekday. A cold weekday. There is a Tucson Electric Power coal plant on south Alvernon rd. which blows large clouds of steam out its stack on cold mornings. In mid November the sun rises at just the right point behind the plant to emerge through the steam from behind the main plant building. I have one shot that is...okay but it is 35mm. I want to go back and shoot it with Ektachrome in 4x5. I tried one time on a weekend but the demand for power on Saturday or Sunday is not sufficient for the steam to roll out of the stack in the volume I desire for the shot. It probably is not everyone's idea of an great photo but it is an image that I have wanted to capture since I first saw it when riding my motorcycle to work.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't make notes of that sort, but I rephotograph scenes in different light, wait for light sometimes, and if the light is really good or looks like it will be, there's probably something in the file that's been waiting to be photographed.
     
  4. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I usually jot down exposure, time and date for future reference. This at least tells me what to expect next year. About that TEP plant and shooting. Be careful about getting too close. I tried last year to gain entry, with a letter to one of their officers, for some shooting of an industrail nature. Short version was, no dice. In our post 9-11 world they seem to be a bit twitchy about setting up. tim
     
  5. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    Yeah, I've thought about that. But the shot I want is an external and if questioned during the shooting I THINK what I was shooting and why would be pretty obvious. The plant building would be a silhouette with no real detail. It is the light above the plant and the steam cloud with rays of the sun coming through that is the shot. But who knows? You might be hearing about some weird dude being arrested with a big funny looking camera outside the power plant one day in November.
     
  6. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    mike you bring up a interesting point. I spend so much time thinking about this sort of thing... most of the time when I shoot a photograph Im really cognizant of the direction the building was constructed, its orientation to the suns path and how sunlight will enter and create shadows and highlights at certain times of day and year.
    I think it has its roots in my Architecture degree from college. I used to spend alot of time in the conceptual stages thinking about the suns path and height in the sky.
    My original comment (in the gallery) was assuming that the longest sun light path would come at the peak in the winter solstice (the sun is at it lowest inrelation to height in the sky during the winter months) that was my deductive reasoning for it.

    I really do think a large majority of my photography and the images I see get influenced by the sun and where it would/could be during certain times of day/year.

    I have alot of shots I want to revisit in the coming summer months... when the sun is higher in the sky and creates shallower shadows.
     
  7. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I'm much too lazy. :wink:

    I tend to take light as I find it. There are so many places to go and photograph, that getting back to any one just never seems to work out.

    One exception: I live near White Rock Lake in Dallas. I'm real conscious of the directions and light there. It started when I noticed that there is only a brief time each year (February-ish) when the sun sets directly over the downtown tall buildings from a specific place on the bank. Not satisfied with the shots I took there one year, but haven't been back any subsequent February, either. :rolleyes:

    Cheers,

    David
     
  8. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    When I'm going to a "new place" I haven't photographed before, I'll often look at USGS topo maps in conjunction with a solar positioning calculator to guess at the best times of day to be at particular locations. Trying to visualize the sun position in relation to the terrain features aparent on the topo map is an interesting mental exercize. (Ah, for one of those snazzy architectural lighting programs linked to topo data!) Once there, it is sometimes obvious that a different time or day would be better based on the layout, orientation of buildings to the sun path, etc. I sometimes make notes of that, and will return - if the location is close enough to be practical.
     
  9. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I do make notes regarding the date, my exposure and lens settings. If I remember, I take notes on lighting. I should take note as to what time of the day it is. My problem is that the best times are often during the day while I'm at work. :mad:
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I know of one spot, close to where I live, where the moon seems to rise between two small islands from a particular beach. This only happens during the winter months, November through February, and during this time, there is only one night per month when this happens just at sunset - which cases the moon to turn pink. Unfortunately, at this time of year, we also get frequent rain showers at sunset. So, I've only been able to successfully capture an image once.
     
  11. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    I have to wait another two to three weeks to take the photograph I want of an old school and church. I saw the photograph in my mind a few months ago. I need the sun to set to the north of the east/west axis to make the photo. I just checked it again yeasterday afternoon and saw that the sun is getting close to the right position.

    I do most of my photography in the county where I live. This is a great advantage because I can wait for the right light. I keep a small note pad in my car so I can jot down ideas and recall them later.

    I don't keep detailed notes, however. I used to, but it bacame too cumbersome to keep up. I don't really care what exposure I made X photograph with two years ago.
     
  12. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    A pink moon coming out of the ocean at sunset between two islands? And you haven't set up a tent to keep your camera dry? tch, tch. :wink:
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Even if I did, I woudn't be able to see it. :tongue:
     
  14. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Appreciate the reply's everyone...Like Matt, I probably spend too much time thinking about this sort of thing but find myself very aware of light (especially the early morning and late evening - golden hour light). It's kind of like the light in fog, some of the coolest works I have seen were made either with natural or artifical light with fog.

    Plus have started to notice many buildings really look their best just as the outside lights come on, and the last bit of daylight still lingers...you get the idea.
     
  15. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    It generally doesn't matter to me either (except when the picture doesn't come out right), but I'm surprised with the number of questions on various forums I've answered regarding exposure of one IR film or another because I had written down the information when I took the shot with whatever film.
     
  16. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    The U.S. Navy lists tables for sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset( is that a word?), for altitude and azimuth. This is pretty handy if you have a compass and do a bit of thinking. It will give you the information you need just by entering your location. tim

    http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.html
     
  17. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I have a free Ephemeris program for my Pocket PC that does the same and more. I got it here: http://home.comcast.net/~jonsachs/
    There are also some other photography related programs there, all free.

    Bruce
     
  18. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    That's Jonathan Sachs, who coded Lotus 1-2-3 and produces Picture Window, a great d*g*t*l image package which "thinks" like a photographer rather than a graphic artist.

    There is also a great free program from the US Naval Observatory called ICE, for Interactive Computerized Ephemeris. It runs under MS-DOS or in a DOS window and can produce tables at the intervals you specify from the latitude and longitude you specify for a great number of celestial objects, including the sun and moon. You can do such things as an hourly chart of the sun for a certain day and location, giving altitude and azimuth (compass bearing). Here's one place to get it: http://stjarnhimlen.se/ice/ice.zip

    There are also a number of free astronomy programs (often called planetarium programs) that you could use for finding the best time and date for photographing a given subject, or where the sun and moon will be in the sky. Here's one starting point for a number of platforms: http://www.oberlin.edu/observatory/internetandsoftwarelinks.html

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2006
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Does it work on Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition?
     
  20. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I don't take notes, but rather pay attention and try to remember when. Doesn't always work, but sometimes it does. Maybe I should take notes!

    Funny anecdote about waiting for the light. A friend and I were out in the mountains, and we each had a different shot framed up. The light wasn't there yet, and the clouds were moving pretty slowly, so we had to wait. We had been waiting for about 10 minutes when a car pulled up, and a few people got out and wandered over to us. After spending a bit of time looking around and watching us watching the mountains, they asked us what we were waiting for: I turned and said without any hesitation,

    "Snow"​

    I then turned back to watch the mountain, with cable release in hand.

    Had a good chuckle about that one....