Summer is often a landscape photographer’s least favorite season. This is because the sun is very high in the sky for most of the day, and often hazy either side of midday. Some landscape photographers even think it’s better to hang up your camera and wait for the softer light and warmer colors of autumn. You just simply need to choose the right subject to photograph and the best conditions in which to capture it. To make the most of the summer months you need to adjust your approach and technique to suit the conditions.
Let the Sun Shine
So let’s start with sunshine. First, the sun is much higher in the sky during the middle of the day. This tends to create unflattering light, leading to flat, low contrast landscape images. The middle part of the day also tends to be hazier, again reducing contrast and making images appear washed out. It’s generally best to avoid shooting during the 3-4 hours either side of midday. Try to photograph at the ends of the day with your new Canon PowerShot SX740
from Beachcamera.com when the sun is much lower. The light is warmer and the shadows are longer. This will create a greater sense of depth.
The Break of Dawn
You should have a good indication of the likely outcome by ‘reading’ the sky. A clear blue sky will mean strong sunlight very soon after it rises. You’ll need to act quickly to capture the best of it before it becomes too harsh. With the absence of clouds there won’t be much color or interest in the sky either. Compose the landscape so that the foreground makes up at least 2/3’s of the picture space. If there are clouds in the sky, there’s a good chance of color. You should include more of the sky in the picture. Double the impact by using water to reflect the clouds.
The same holds true at the other end of the day as the sun falls lower in the sky. Evenings are an equally productive time to shoot summer landscapes with the Canon PowerShot SX740
During the Daytime
The warmer temperatures of summer cause fair weather cumulus clouds to build up during the day. These add interest to the sky and create a mosaic of light and shade on the landscape. Wide views over fields or mountains look great shot in these conditions. This can be used to make key features stand out more.
When the Weather Turns
As temperatures build, so does the likelihood of thunderstorms. This brings further opportunities for dramatic landscapes. Timing is crucial here. Position yourself ahead of the storm and shoot sunlit landscapes with menacing clouds brewing overhead. The period after a storm passes can be equally rewarding as it often clears the air, adding greater clarity and vibrant colors to images.
These are generally best captured in low contrast light. A neutral density filter is useful if you want to reduce the exposure to record the water as silky ribbons. Use a shutter speed of somewhere between 1/4 to 2 seconds. A polarizing filter
will reduce the exposure and remove surface glare from reflective surfaces to increase saturation.
Hit the Beach
This popular summertime destination offers the chance to utilize long exposure techniques to record the movement of water flowing over rocks or sandy beaches. Extreme exposures of 30 seconds or longer will blur the water to add further interest to coastal landscapes. These very long exposures can be achieved by using an extreme neutral density filter.
This should help explain how landscape photography changes in the summer and what you as a photographer can do to adjust.