The harsh midday sun is not the favorite light for most photographers. While we talked about it many times in terms of portrait photography, we haven’t often mentioned how challenging it can be for landscapes. Well, Nigel Danson reflects on it in his video. He takes you on a walk through a forest with him, sharing a few simple, but powerful tips for getting striking landscape photos even in the midday sun.
Since I prefer shooting landscapes to portraits, this is the challenge I’ve personally faced more often than shooting portraits in the midday sun. I often don’t stay at a location for long enough to capture it in the perfect conditions, but I only have a few hours in the afternoon to be there. So, I related to this video and the tips Nigel shares.
When you’re in a situation like this, look for shadows. Nigel gives a nice example of leaves in the trees catching the sunlight, creating a nice contrast in the photo.
Then, look for interesting scenes and hidden places. You don’t have to shoot an entire scenery, there can be plenty of interesting smaller scenes around you. Similarly, you can isolate your subjects. Look for interesting compositions, and use a long lens to focus on details rather than the whole scene.
You can also look for colors that will tell a story and evoke an emotion. During his walk, Nigel found two beautiful trees with green leaves next to another one with yellow ones. If I may add – you can also look for interesting textures and tiny details. This falls out of landscape photography, but it can still give you some interesting photos.
Of course, if you’re spending more time at a certain location, you can choose to use the midday sun for something else. Use this bright lighting for location scouting and come back later when the conditions are optimal.
Make sure to take a look at Nigel’s video as he shares a bunch of interesting photos that he took despite the conditions that were far from ideal. And let us know – how do you overcome the dull midday light when shooting landscapes?