It’s no secret, the best time for landscape photography (and most other outdoor photographer for that matter) is in the few hours in the morning and evening we call “golden hour”. Epic landscapes photographed at the wrong time of day often fall short of the magic they deserve. It’s during the sun’s transition across the horizon line that we get a nice, soft golden light across the landscape.
Having arrived at your location hours early and setting up the perfect composition in frame, you wait. You wait for that magic moment. With all your hard work and effort so far you just know that you will be rewarded with a grand sunset or sunrise with a glowing landscape and brilliant colours in the sky. But wait, the skies are crystal clear. The landscape is beautiful but sky is seriously lacking interest. You need to act quickly so save this moment.
You can recompose the shot to exclude as much sky as possible, OR… you can turn around and look behind you. This is exactly what happened to me for this Lake of Two Rivers sunrise a few weeks ago in Algonquin Park. The weather had promised a moody, cloud painted sky but didn’t deliver. Shooting wide angle with very little foreground interest and a long expanse between the beach and the far shore, I needed to ditch my plan and come up with something new. Turning 180 degrees I found some clouds clearing the tree canopy behind me that were giving off a hint of pinks and magenta. I went to work finding a new spot to setup my tripod make good use of this chilly morning.
I found an interesting opening in the reeds at the edge of the marshy area next to the campgrounds. Lowing my tripod and shooting with a wide angle allowed me to create more foreground interest, while including the coloured skyline, the rising mist and some reflections in the water. The open space in the middle of the image creates a triangle which leads the eye all around the image. I wanted to create a pleasing image with several elements of interest for my audience. When shooting landscapes, always have a Plan A, and Plan B, and be ready to make up Plan C on the go. When in doubt, look behind you.
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