Chasing Light Getting the light right

Choosing the right time of day is the best thing you can do to enhance your images. Ideally you want your light to be perfect to help define the "character" of the image as it can make them stand out or even detract from the scene itself.

GOlden Hour Light

These images show the Golden Hour light directly to my back.

The ideal time to photograph wildlife is during golden hour when the light is the most favorable. Midday light can cause harsh shadows and create very unflattering images. When you are setting up to shoot, ideally you'll want the sun to your back. This will allow you to have the subject illuminated in the best light.

Using Side Light & Rim Light

These images depict the use of side light with a dark background.

Setting up so that the sun is at a 90 degree angle from your lens can allow you to great side light. If your background is dark the subject will pop out from its surroundings. If you place the subject in front of the sun just you can get rim light highlighting the edges of the subject. If you stop down or increase the shutter speed to darken the subject even more, you can create a perfect silhouette.

Rim Light Accents this Mule Deers Antlers

Filtered Light

Overcast mornings or evenings will require you to increase your ISO to stop the action.

Sometimes you may encounter a situation where the light is being blocked by clouds. This soft diffused light will allow you to capture evenly lit animals but may not necessarily always give you the "pop" of color that Golden Hour light provides. Another scenario that you may encounter are rays of light that may partially illuminate your subject such as an owl in a dense forest.

A ray of light through the trees adds an accent to these images.

Midday Light

Evenly lit subjects from overcast skies.

Harsh midday light can cause less desirable effects on your subjects. If you are planning to shoot midday, overcast conditions will help even out the lighting on your subjects.

Harsh light striking this Bison.

Get up early, stay out late and shoot more photos!

Created By
Matthew Dirksen
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All Photos Copyright Matt Dirksen Photography

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