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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 22 of 27

Timing: Seasons and Time of Day

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

22. Timing: Seasons and Time of Day

Lesson Info

Timing: Seasons and Time of Day

so this next section is on timing when you shoot your photographs and there's a lot of different scales to think about when it comes to timing and the first one we're going to talk about is one of the bigger scales we might say is the season of timing and things to look for and consider different times of the year all right let's start fresh right here in the spring time okay so I'm going to go through kind of the advantages the disadvantages and then the tips on each of these particular situation so obviously in the springtime we have the rebirth of color and we finally have some color to work with which is always nice and this is when flora is going to be at its peak fresh freshness the rivers are starting to flow from the mountains and they're gonna be looking really good so if you want those waterfall pictures springtime is usually the time to be out there shooting them and it's also getting kind of getting to be a little bit more comfortable to shoot out there so you're gonna be a...

ble to spend more of the days out there shooting some of the things that I don't like about shooting in the spring is that it's well travelled kind of amateur territory it's kind of the obvious simple shots so if you're looking for those more sophisticated shots a little bit harder to get in the springtime in many cases there is too much stuff it's visual overload everything is bursting with colors and it's visual overload in the image you can have some pretty unpredictable and inconsistent weather and so it's very hard predicting the clouds and the weather and what the light is going to be and the actual peak time when the flowers were out or when things were really blooming and budding is often a very short period of time in fact you know sometimes it's just a week or two is when things have really gone through their best phases and so you really have to be available to be going out there and shooting at just the right times so my tips for shooting in the spring is a rainstorm is a great time to go out just after it's done it's gonna have fully just going to look really fresh and you can have those water droplets on their polarizer is going to be very but in this situation with these colors it's going to help you get the most saturated vibrant colors mornings are best it seems like everything is at its freshest and everything is coming back alive to me it seems a little bit better than the evenings and this is a great time to have your macro lens available because this is when those little tiny elements are going to be looking their best and so right here this is springtime this is fresh and clean and they're not all chewed up by bugs and it's got a vory nice clean pattern to it without brown leaves or anything else and you're only going to get this at that peak few weeks in the spring time that's when the rivers are going to be looking at their best they're flowing over the widest area went back to the same waterfall about a month after I shot this and it was just a little drizzle coming down a tiny looked like someone had a garden hose going down this thing it was very very weak and power getting out that macro lens especially after the rainstorm a great time to be shooting those elements I do not like shooting out in the rain and we can talk about that in a little bit so I actually have a section on that shooting in the rain is very very tough but shooting after the rain is a great time and so be prepared if it starts to raid to head out there soon afterwards the next season summer the popular season right and so here we obviously have the advantage of very comfortable conditions to work in at least in most places long as it doesn't get too warm easy access the park's air open the trails are open snow's cleared off the pass up in the mountains it's easy to get to long days where if you do have good light you could be working for hours and hours and hours all day long and here in the cascades and the olympics were going wild flowers blooming up high in the mountains and so you could go shoot wildflowers in august which is really nice because normally you're gonna have to shoot them in april the problem with it is that the foliage starts becoming well worn in the hans heat bright sun for a long period of time doesn't look as fresh it's the very busy tourist season so you're going to be competing with all sorts of other people in cars out there and this potentially in some situations is long days of bad light which means you're shooting for a couple hours in the morning and you're shooting for a couple hours in the evening and you have the whole middle of the day where you're just waiting for the better life and hopefully you can make good use of that time and so we don't really have a cz much good light because it happens just a very short periods of time on either end of the day so some tips for shooting in the summertime look for areas that you can't get too on other parts of the year just you're not going to get those shots during the other seasons whatever you khun dio avoid the weekends this is when all the amateurs are out there and so if you could take wednesday off work wednesdays are better than thursdays and tuesdays and tuesdays and thursdays are better than mondays and fridays because most people are working in the middle of the week and so if you could get out there you'll deal with less people and you'll just have easier access think about those big landscapes this is often a good time to get those big landscapes is in summer although to be honest you can get them at any time of year but somewhere it could be a very easy time to get them and this is a great time if you want to get into nighttime shooting staying out on the late night when it's nice and warm in your shorts and t shirt shooting stars is a great experience if you're in a very dark environment so the wild flowers that bloom here in mount rainier kind of nice to be up here avoiding the weekends there's not as many people walking around in the background because there could be a trail right there the snow is cleared off the trails and it's easy to hike up real quickly to get to the areas that you want to access and you can stay shooting at night and it's nice and comfortable and not so cold and high you could be working for really long hours once you see good conditions you could just keep on working this is at nine fifteen at night and I still have not had dinner yet I was out shooting you know through six o'clock and seven o'clock and sunset around seven thirty but you could just keep shooting and shooting and so when it's good you just keep going with it fall time very popular time obviously because we have kind of a new type of color coming onto the scene the leaves turning colors so you often end up with some of the best color of the year in many regions the sun is a little bit lower in the sky is we're changing positions and that can help out with lighting quite a bit fewer people are out there the summer tourists have gone home a little bit more freedom and access on the trails and you can have a little bit more interesting weather which is both a good thing in a bad thing timing is really critical on this hitting that fall foliage one of my regrets about going to morocco is that we're going during the month of october and when we come back the leaves were pretty much all going to be down on the ground and they're all going to go and we're going to miss it it's a small sacrifice but well worth it but it happens over a very very short period of time and you don't want to be too late it's better to have the leaves on the tree and then on the ground in most situations you are gonna have that unpredictable weather that we had back in the spring time and this is when access is going to be a little bit more difficult the parks are closed you better check to make sure that you can get access to the park and those trails air open that you think that you want to go to that you scouted out in the summertime and it does require a very different mindset from the summer is for us what you're looking for and the types of images that you're going to get it's just it is a different type of image ah frosty morning is a fantastic time to get out there shooting and so if you have the day off it was a cold night and there's some frost out there put on that coat get on those boots and get out there because there's probably going to be tons of little details and close up shots they're going to look fantastic and potentially larger shots as well another good time to head out after the rain keep your eye on the weather forecast look for those rain showers coming over head out right afterwards some good elements the polarizer is going to be once again very very useful oh here and for that best color you better get there a little early rather than a little late because those trees with half the leaves on him don't look nearly as good and so some very vibrant colors using the polarizer to get the most amount out of those colors this is when that access to certain areas is going to come a little bit more difficult they're going to be blocking off some of those trails looking for those reflections talked about reflections in earlier section let's talk about winter winter is a great time but it's a very very different mindset than the other seasons so stark and simple can be very graphic and these air very good elements that work in photographs as I've mentioned before the snow can really transform the landscape partly by hiding just a myriad of flaws of things on the ground but can also add those nice reflections or reflecting the light the sun's going to be at a much lower angle so there might be potentially many more hours that you can work in the winter time then you could at in the summertime in the same location and as I mentioned that snow makes for a great reflector especially on trees some disadvantages obviously these are more challenging conditions to work in when it's twenty five degrees out before sunrise a lot of people have a hard time getting out that front door but that is the hardest part once you get out there you'll start realizing what you're what you have got a near potential and you'll be looking back all those stupid people sleeping in I'm getting all the great shots out here it's getting out of bed and saying I'm going to do it on if you can get past that stage it gets much better when you're out there it could be a little hard on equipment I haven't actually had winter damage my cameras and lenses I was told you I was working in yellowstone minus thirty nine degrees camera seem to work quite fine I needed charts of that area will be more frequent because it's hard on it but you do need to be a little bit or cautious about how you treat your equipment in that cold environment subjects are going to be a little bit harder to find if you're having snow helps out tremendously winter without the snow their cells still some great shots that you can get and it's going to require I think a little bit more creative hi I think it's more challenging to go out in the winter and find great shots than it is in other times of the year but I think those shots gonna have a very big payoff looking very nice so as in this example turning your image is black and white would be a good tip getting out right after that snowfall whenever that is getting out first thing in the morning before everybody else has trampled over the park dress properly so that you are comfortable one of the things that you might forget about is you might be used to going out for a walk in the morning while it's nice and cold but you've got to think what if you find a nice shot and you just need to be standing around for a long period of time and you have to think what's it gonna be like standing here for the next half hour while it's freezing so you've got to be dressing for those sorts of conditions obviously dressing in layers so that you can unzip as you get warm because a lot of times you need to hike to a place you get very warm and then you're just standing around for quite a while and I will often bring a couple pairs of gloves I'll bring a couple of hats and I'll wear both if it's really cold if it's kind of warm I wear one and so being very versatile on the clothing is very important and obviously here you have a more difficult environment to work with and you just need to be prepared you need to either bring food or drink on dh you don't want to get yourself caught in a bad situation it's really beyond the scope of this class to get into the safety of traveling in winter environments but it's something you obviously need to be aware of where you are going how you're going to get in and how you're going to get out but I love photographing and snow it's just a great element as I say it just cleans up ah place that might not look good in other parts of the season he's shooting with that son very low raking across the it's no creating those little bits of shadow that really give a lot more depth to the photograph turning the image is black and white adding a little bit of contrast this is shot with a two hundred millimeter lens which is usually the longest lens that I go out with all right so let's talk about different times of the day when we're going to be shooting so let's just break it up again real simple start with the morning time heard somebody mentioned earlier that they're more of a sunset person than a sunrise person well I've always kind of wondered is there a difference between sunrise and sunset is there a difference between morning and evening and I think there is it depends on the location as faras the lighting and so far I think the advantage goes towards the morning but it's a personal bias and I think I'll explain it here and so morning time great time to shoot if it's not overcast I know there's been some days where I woke up and I'm really tired like I really I don't want to get out of bed and I look outside and it's all cloudy I'm like yep I'm going back to bed but when it's sunny it's like I better get out I gotta clear sky because then we're going to get that sunlight for those grand landscapes what I love about the morning is that a successful photography shoot often is simply because you are in the right mindset you have the right concept you're seeing shots and they're coming together for you and when you get up early in the morning and you start shooting and you get yourself in a good groove you just keep shooting I'll keep shooting till noon time sometime you say well the light's not is good no I'm finding subjects that look good and so when it's good it just keeps going and I love that factor morning gives a nice twelve hours for the snow to fall for frost to form for the due to form on the leaves for the sand to blow clean of all the footprints from the photographers on the night before and so that's why mornings I think our little boy better than evenings in many cases everything kind of settles out the footprints start to disappear and you haven't kind of a further level of freshness going on at that case and this is often when you're going to have the wind at its comments comest to get those easy reflections okay problems with shooting in the morning face it it's our it's hard to get out of bed for everyone some people have a harder time than others I understand that but if you know what you're in for it it'll give you the gumption to get out of bed but it's hard to be in place for I mean you're driving in the dark you might be hiking in the dark it's very hard to be exactly where you need to because I know many times I've woken up it's pure dark I drove to the location it's pure dark I've started hiking it's pure dark and I'm like is it really gonna be lightened by the time I get there I'm rushing because I'm barely getting there in time it's difficult to first see if you haven't been scouting the location you're getting there and you're like I hear there's an outlook here somewhere but I'm not sure where and so this is where scouting really helps out because it's hard to figure things out in the darkness the good light happens over a very short period of time so you better be ready for your shots I will often sometimes lineup shots I'm going to do a wide angle shot here I'm gonna do a telephoto shot here and then a macro shot over here as soon as the light gets good I know exactly what I'm getting into so that when the light's changing I found myself in this position a few times which is it's really good but what am I going to shoot I don't have a subject I got great light I gotta shoot right now and you want to have your subjects lined up you want to have him you're ducks lined up you might say next access to the locations could be difficult there are certain places that they have gates they don't allow you in and you got to get in at nine o'clock in the morning that drives me nuts more there's certain places they don't allow you to be and so getting there sometimes tough so some tips for shooting no your sunrise time and location nowhere the sun's gonna come up the horizon there's a lot of different apse which tell you exactly what time the sun is gonna rise be aware that those air slightly off depending on trees and mountains and hillsides as to when it will hit your exact location going there the night before the day before scouting it out ahead of time plan your shots what's potential on your shot list if you can repeat it on subsequent mornings then you'll have a really good idea of what you're in for because maybe the light will be exactly the same and you'll know why I wasn't there in time yesterday but now I'm going to be in time over here because I didn't find that subject till later in the morning that's the way that you're going to get the best shots and of course dress appropriately in layers because it's going to start off cold and you're going to be heating up and so you want to be ableto stripped down in many cases to more comfortable clothing because if you're not comfortable you're not in the right mindset for shooting and so early sunrise in yellowstone this is a location that I went to about three mornings in a row so I was I knew what to expect and it was slightly different at each day that freshness the footprints are all gone in the sand dunes it's nice and clean it's like it's been raked clean perfectly gonna have that great light if it's not overcast repeating this on several mornings allowed me to really fine tuned the best location for shooting middle of the day so the manages of the middle of the day is hey this is a convenient time to go out and shoot and I always get a kick about talking with a friend hey you want to go for a hike tomorrow here there's some great photography locations up here sure thin what time you want to get started well let's get started pretty early how about I pick you up at nine a m nine a m which takes an hour to drive there on our hike up will be there from eleven to one a m all right that's not mourning time it's convenient time to be out there so there's lots of time to work with and which is good in some cases not good in others it's easy to get to you which is always really nice and this is where I will often be tripod optional in some cases and this is where you may not need the tripod if you have enough light obviously this is contrast he lighting when the sun is out it's sometimes just to contrast for shooting there is just a lot of traffic and a lot of people out on the trails and the roads it's hard to get around and parking spots and some of the big parks and it's a very ordinary light to it it's just kind of the average what we would expect and honestly they are sometimes to bright conditions you know it's so bright that I have to sometimes bring out a loop so that I can see the back of my camera to see how good the images because it's so bright and I don't have no idea how people with cameras with no view finder can work in normal sunlight conditions in the middle of the day I just can't see the screen easy enough I have to have it up to the eye to be able to get a good view to get good feedback about what's going on and am I doing the right job so some tips on shooting the afternoon I love cloudy days for shooting through the afternoon nice time to be shooting details and those intimate landscapes this is a good time to not be shooting and simply be scouting where you want to be for sunset or the following sunrise the polarizer zehr goingto have a minimum impact here in the middle of the day in many situations and this is a great time to just take a rest many times I'm getting up so early and I shoot through the sunrise I'll come back to camp and I'll be sleeping at camp until two or three o'clock in the afternoon and then I'll get up for my evenings you and so I have kind of a split schedule you might say for working the landscapes to get out there and be out there at the best time of day and resting when it's not good light and so those cloudy days you can work all through the day gives you lots of time to work with the shots because they're not at the critical lighting time I didn't use a tripod for this shot folks people is one of the few shots I can really say I didn't use a tripod for I was going for maximum depth of field f sixteen but because there's so much light I'm shooting at one hundred twenty fifth of a second so it's very easy to handhold probably the most common time for people to be shooting is in the evening because they're up and they're out and it's easy to get access to those great locations so obviously here we have the potential of great light and it's easy to see it's kind of hard to tell a good sunrise until you're just minutes away from it a good sunset I can predict you know they have weatherman who predict the weather I could be on the news channel I could predict the light at least in the evening I could say well we got some clouds here and they're closely related but being able to predict the light is a good skill that you should develop is this going to be good light do we have the potential for something to happen it's very hard to predict if any sort of precision but you can look at the elements that have good potential recognizing that potential as I've said before so you can easily for see what's going on and it's easy to put yourself in the right place because it's daytime it's easy to get there disadvantages obviously exit can get very chaotic just like mornings things could be happening very quickly have your shots lined up don't be wondering where your subject is when the light is great this light changes very very quickly and sometimes you only have about five or ten minutes to really get the best light when the lighting is really good and what I hate most about evening is that once that light hits that peak point about two minutes later it's that's it it's over completely done with in many cases pack your bags go home and it's kind of like I wanted to end it was good and what is good in the morning you can oftentimes just keep shooting and if you're not careful you get left out in the dark so be careful about where you go and having the lights to get back to the car or however you're getting back to civilization the graduated neutral density filters are very very helpful I would not want to be out there shooting without the's the polarizer is will be very helpful if you are shooting inside light this particular photograph on screen that's not sidelight I am not using a polarizer on that image if you have a chance you want to get on location early I probably would like to be at location an hour before sunset so that I could scout out where I want to be what the potentials what's around this particular area and of course I'm going to bring a flashlight and probably a backup now maybe I'm going to stay on location and shoot star shots in which case I can keep shooting but in this case I want to always be have to be safe and getting my travels back to wherever I need to get to and so a few evening shots you know by the time I got out of here I was walking out of the woods in the dark but this is something that I could easily for sea and I could easily line up many many different shots because I could tell exactly where to go to get the best positions very easy to scout using that graduated neutral density filter this is the most famous outlook this is called tunnel outlet on yosemite valley and I think very likely there are trillions of photographs that have been taken here there's a parking lot that they just drop busloads of tourists off and snapping away all day long but you come back at sunset and there's where you see all the serious photographers maat re near up reflection lakes sunset I only got a couple of good pictures where the light was really at its peak and so you got to know exactly where you want to go working in the night time can be very very challenging and so I like doing it because it's got a very unique look it's very different than everything else you're shooting during the daytime and that dark is kind of like the snow it really hides a lot of the unwanted elements and it's nice because it has a nice consistent light level so once you figure out your shutter speeds and apertures you're just making very subtle adjustments almost every exposure is coming out perfectly once you get it figured out and then you also have the advantage of doing light painting which is that's that's a whole other creative life class right there but we're not going to get in too much of that here obviously difficult conditions because it's very very dark it's obviously a little bit dangerous because you can't see where you're walking is easily so you need to have your lights out with you you're gonna be dealing with long exposures you're not gonna be able to shoot as many pictures and you're going to be standing around waiting for that thirty second exposure to end and this is where you might need those fast lenses normally in the lens section I was recommending those zoom lenses that were f foreign aperture and they're going to work for a lot of stuff but they don't work so well for the nighttime stuff two eight is probably where you need to be at the very minimum but I like having those lenses that go down two or f one point for which really aren't necessary for most of the other work and so I have a twenty for one point four lens that's kind of my exclusive night photography lens that does a very good job in this case so this is a great another tip for getting out there and scouting ahead of time where can you be what's gonna look good using a red light on your flashlight will help your eyes stay adjusted to the dark light your eyes take about a half an hour to adjust to darkness and we use a use a bright white flashlight that destroys your night vision and it takes another half hour to adjust for that if you use a red light and there's a number of red lights for working at night time it's going to be much easier so that you can see what you're composing as well see the camera and the controls on the camera be aware of where the moon is when it's going to rise when it's going to set and be aware of your location your route and any sort of potential dangers that are in the way are you crossing rivers on slippery bridges things like that you just have to take an extra layer of caution when working under these conditions but you can end up with some really nice and unusual looking photographs that are very different than you are getting in the middle of the day and it's a fun way to continue our photography into the night when things are good and a quick little light painting shot I did down in the death valley this is the ball of confusion I use using my red headlamp in order to create this so little something on shooting in different times do we want to call it a break here way are going to call it a break john I'm just gonna do a couple of questions for you and then go to brake so quickly this is from gold stephen jay what are the key elements to look for when you are predicting that good evening lee well you're looking for the cloud patterns where they are moving what direction they're moving and what's moving into position to where the sun is going to be so if the sun is going down in the west and the clouds are blowing you wantto look okay what's going to be and how long are they moving in what what are my potentials and they used to have to start thinking about what is that going to impact for this area and so it's basically looking at the wind and the clouds and another question is how much pre visualization goes into a photo if you on ly have one opportunity to take that particular subject well then it's a good time to do a little research google images being images what's what's the potential you know expanding horizon what's potential looking at other people's work well where can I get teo because there are locations where I only get one chance to shoot it and I want to know like can I get here can I get there and so doing a little scout out the location the maps using like google maps or big maps checking now where the roads go where the points and so doing as much research as possible to figure out your positioning it's very hard to predict light and so forth and so all you can do is try to get yourself in the best place at the best time

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.