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Changing light can make a dramatic difference in landscape photography. The angle and temperature of the light will alter colors, texture, and the mood of an image. Consider the image below…
I took this shot in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. The soft light scattered in the water of the hot springs, and brought out the brilliant colors and the textures. The golden morning light also infused the steam with a warm glow as it scattered in the mist. The whole image has a warm, pleasant mood.
I took the second shot (below) at the same location just a few minutes earlier… just before the sun rose over the horizon. Without the soft, directional sunlight, the foreground textures are less defined, making the image feel flat and unappealing in comparison. The water isn’t lit by the warm morning sunlight, so it looks a little more dull. And the steam is greyish… not golden and glowing in the morning light.
So, the next time you find yourself photographing a beautiful location, wait for the right light. The results will be worth the effort.