Exercise: Light through the day

The brief:

To photograph one scene from dawn to dusk. Fine a landscape location with a fairly definite subject that will catch the sunlight even when the sun is close to the horizon. It needs to offer a good, clear view that is lit throughout the day. Try and keep the composition exactly the same for all the photographs. Try and take one picture per hour and more at the end of the day when the light is changing faster.

For this exercise I chose to place my tripod outside my front door and shoot up the street, knowing that the north side of the street would definitely get sunlight and the mountains in the distance would create a bit of a background. The view from my deck in my back yard would have been one of garage rooftops, although the sun would have been more interesting on that side. Our days are fairly short here in Canada already. On this day, 30 November, 2014 the sun rose at 07h45 and set at 16h16. The path of the sun through the sky at this time of the year is approximately 110 degrees only as can be seen from the screen shot I made from the Photographer’s Ephemeris below. The light orange line is the sunrise and the dark orange line represents sunset.

Photographer's Ephemeris - Movement of the sun on 30 November, 2014

Photographer’s Ephemeris – Movement of the sun on 30 November, 2014

The photos were taken in a north-westerly view. The houses across the road are due north, while the road runs in an east-west direction. My first photo was taken bright an early at 06h08, and as one can see, it is still pitch black outside. The only available light is from the single streetlight outside.

Fig 01 - Time 06h08

Fig 01 – Time 06h08
f3.5, 13 sec, 18mm, ISO 100

By 07h01 we are just approaching the start of civil twilight where the blue of the sky is becoming visible. The streetlights are still on.

Fig 02 - Time 07h01

Fig 02 – Time 07h01
f3.5, 3 sec, 18mm, ISO 100

Fifteen minutes after sunrise (fig 03). Unfortunately I was shooting on the northern side of the house and therefore did not get any of the sunrise colours. The sun’s rays has not reached any of the houses yet.

Fig 03 - Time 08h01 (15 minutes after sunrise)

Fig 03 – Time 08h01 (15 minutes after sunrise)
f3.5, 1/80, 18mm, ISO 100

By 09h01 (fig 04) the sun’s rays have illuminated the northern side of the street, although there are some low shadows against the buildings, all the roofs are bathed in sunlight.

Fig 04 - Time 09h01

Fig 04 – Time 09h01
f8, 1/100, 18mm, ISO 100

By 10h01 (fig 05) the northern side of the street is fully bathed in sunlight and the western end of the road is starting to receive some sunlight on the southern side of the street.

Fig 05 - Time 10h01

Fig 05 – Time 10h01
f8, 1/200, 18mm, ISO 100

By 11h00 (fig 06) sunlight is breaking through the gaps of the houses on the southern side of the street (the two triangular patches of light on the snow) as the sun continues to rise.

Fig 06 - Time 11h00

Fig 06 – Time 11h00
f8, 1/200, 18mm, ISO 100

By noon (fig 07) the sun is directly behind the house as can be seen by the broad sunlight patch in front of the rose bush.

Fig 07 - Time 12h00

Fig 07 – Time 12h00
f8, 1/200, 18mm, ISO 100

By 13h11 (fig 08) the sun was at its peak and cast the widest patch of light on the southern side of the street.

Fig 08 - Time 13h11

Fig 08 – Time 13h11
f8, 1/200, 18mm, ISO 100

By 14h00 (fig 09) the sun is beginning to descend and only a tiny patch of light remains on the snow. Shadows begin to form on the grey house across the road.

Fig 09 - Time 14h00

Fig 09 – Time 14h00
f8, 1/160, 18mm, ISO 100

At 15h00 (fig 10) all sunlight has disappeared from the southern side of the street. Most of the houses on the northern side of the street are in shadow as well, with the exception of the grey house which is at a slightly higher elevation than those further down the street and is therefore catching more sun.

Fig 10 - Time 15h00

Fig 10 – Time 15h00
f8, 1/160, 18mm, ISO 100

By 16h02 the entire street is in shade and some of the houses have begun to switch on their lights.

Fig 11 - Time 16h02

Fig 11 – Time 16h02
f8, 1/30, 18mm, ISO 100

Sunset occurred at 16h16 and the colour is barely visible above the trees in the background

Fig 12 - Time 16h20 - sunset

Fig 12 – Time 16h20 – sunset
f8, 1/10, 18mm, ISO 100

At 16h33 the colours of the sunset intensified and this was the best that displayed from this view. Although the sunset was quite spectacular on the southern side of the house – brilliant red – sailor’s delight and all that…

Fig 13 - Time 16h33

Fig 13 – Time 16h33
f8, 0.4 sec, 18mm, ISO 100

Half an hour after sunset (fig 13) and the streetlights have come one. The houses are in deep shadows and more indoor lights have been turned on.

Fig 14 - Time 16h46

Fig 14 – Time 16h46
f8, 1.6 sec, 18mm, ISO 100

By 17h02 civil twilight has ended and the nautical twilight has begun. The trees are silhouetted against the lingering dark blue sky and the street light casts an eerie orange glow on the icy road and snow.

Fig 15 - Time 17h02

Fig 15 – Time 17h02
f8, 2.5 sec, 18mm, ISO 100

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