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Author Topic: Predicting the light  (Read 4072 times)
Willowroot
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« on: February 09, 2004, 08:10:33 AM »
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Something that can help is the Clear Sky Clock - http://cleardarksky.com/csk/index.html#clock_list .  It is mainly oriented towards astronomers but provides very accurate short-term cloud cover predictions.

Jason
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Jason Elias
willowroot.ca
Malcolm MacGarvin
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2004, 10:33:09 AM »
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It also depends where you live/are!

Up here in northern Scotland (57 degrees N) I love the winter light; even at midday the elevation of the sun is low enough that it acts like a horizontal searchlight. Couple that with the intense blue sky, varied cloud colours, burnt sienna tones of the heather, dark green of the native pines, buff straw of the dead grass and claret of the birch twigs and its difficult not to take photos that others find appealing!

See, for example, some of my efforts at http://homepage.mac.com/macgarvin/Menu15.html

Even 600 miles down, on the southern English coast, in winter there is a lot of time until late morning and from early afternoon when the sun angle is not the critical factor.

And if the light isn't good for landscapes, I tend to find myself getting pretty occupied with capturing images of rock textures, bark etc. - there's (almost!!!) always something, if you have the eyes for it!?

Best
Malcolm
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Jack R
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2004, 09:37:50 AM »
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Clear Dark Sky clock is awesome. I've been using it for a year and it's surprisingly accurate. Be sure to click on the squares- you can view the projected cloud cover. I've found the best skys include some scattered clouds- adds a lot of color.

Jackr
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Christian
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2004, 02:30:39 AM »
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Firstly let me apologise if this is a stupid question but it's something I've been thinking about for a while and I'd really appreciate the benefit of getting some input from some more experienced photographers.

The established wisdom seems to be that, in general, the "best" light is available around sunrise and sunset (just before or just after, depending on what you're after). As someone who naturally likes to sleep in, the fact that catching possibly the best light of the day can mean a 4am wake-up is a bit depressing. But having forced myself out of bed at that hour several times and having experienced some incredibly beautiful light, it's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make. Well, sometimes!

But the problem is, sometimes the light at sunrise just isn't that great at all. Nice but nowhere near as spectacular as I know it can be. So my question to all those experienced landscape photographers out there is: Is there a way to tell how good the light will be? Is there a way of predicting it with any sort of accuracy? Or is simply a matter of dragging yourself out of bed no matter what just in case?

My initial observations suggest that cloud conditions play a big role, as does the strength of the sun (i.e., summer vs winter). I'm thinking that maybe humidity has an effect. But I'd really like some advice from those who've been doing it for years to see if I can a bit better feel for when the light will be good.
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2004, 09:05:45 AM »
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At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, (I actually like waking up at 4am to go shooting), there are too many variables to be able to judge this in advance.

I've been out on many mornings when it seemed like the light was going to remain flat and uninteresting, only to have a break in the clouds develop.

Conversely, I've seen some potentially wonderful sunrises and sunsets ruined at the last minute.

You just have to be there, and wait.

Michael
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Willowroot
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2004, 02:50:44 PM »
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True enough.  This reminds of something Brooks Jensen said - "There is no such thing as good light or bad light.  There is just light."

Jason
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Jason Elias
willowroot.ca
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