Oregon Coast/Article,Russ Burden.
by Viveca Venegas
Without the sun, life wouldnít exist. It provides energy for plants, heat for warmth, gravity to hold the planets in orbit, and light to make photographs. Without its light, landscapes and seascapes, as we know them, couldnít be made. It illuminates the earth in rich warm tones of orange and red, allows rainbows to bridge the sky, and provides color to paint the clouds.
Unto itself, the sun can be a good photographic subject once you learn how to deal with a few concerns. Flare, strong contrast, improper exposures, and safety issues need to be addressed. Techniques can be easily learned to contend with these issues. Time of day, atmospheric conditions, careful technique and common sense all impact the success of sun photographs.
Over the years, Iíve learned strategies to make good sunscapes. Whether it involves the sun on the horizon, high in the sky, diffused by fog, or bounced off reflected surfaces, I utilize what Iíve gained from experience and apply it to each new sun situation I encounter. As you begin to incorporate these techniques into your photography, youíll look at the sun in a whole new light.
The density of the fog determines the mood of the image. A thin rolling fog is very effective. At any given moment, the sunís intensity varies with the thickness of its mist. As the fog moves across the sunís face, its brightness increases and decreases. It may appear as a subtle round disk. Within a matter of seconds, it may be revealed as a simple glow with no definition. When shooting fog, itís a good idea to overexpose up to one stop from the meter reading or else the image will appear dull gray .
Colorful skies are good subjects unto themselves. The best time to take advantage of them is when the sun is close to the horizon. Be it pre dawn, post sunset, or right at sunrise or sunset, the sun acts to fill the sky with vivid warm tones. Isolating cloud patterns, spots of dramatic color, sun rays, or a long telephoto of the sun itself produces strong images to punch up slide show or make a nice print.
The color can often be enhanced through the creative use of filters. An enhancing filter can be used to help punch up warm tones. A sunset filter will shift all the colors toward orange. The 81 series will add varying degrees of warmth. When using them, make sure the image maintains a level of believability unless a creative purpose is sought.