Photographing Dramatic Light
Here is is a shot from a workshop we taught in Glacier National Park in Montana in 2011. The morning was absolutely beautiful; we got this gorgeous sunrise with dramatic light… and alpenglow on the mountains. And then rainbows started dropping out of the sky as the sun rose. Wow!
Just how do you capture photos with dramatic light like these? Here are couple of tips to get you started:
1. Get down low.
I wanted to be really close to the rocks in the foreground to convey a sense of depth and to capture as much of the reflected light on the water as possible. A wide angle lens allows me to capture the foreground and the distance in sharp focus – with a little help from my good friend, Hyperfocal Distance. ;)
2. Look behind you!
I was shooting the mind-numbingly beautiful alpenglow on the mountain in the other direction when this happened… but I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see what was going to happen behind me as the sun approached the horizon. I’m glad I didn’t miss it!
3. Bring a towel. ;)
The lake looks smooth because I used a long exposure – 8 seconds for the brightest of the three shots – but it was splashing like crazy. It was also raining a bit too. Getting down low meant I had to keep drying my camera off as it got splashed. I stayed low only as long as necessary to capture what I wanted and then held the camera high to protect it until I was ready for the next shot.
Here are few more examples of dramatic light: