Many of my photographs are taken at or within one or two hours of sunrise and sunset. I do this for a number of reasons. First, contrast, or the difference between the brighter and darker areas of the scene, is much less and far more easily handled by the camera. Second, colors in the image usually appear more saturated early or late in the day compared to midday when those colors often appear washed out and somewhat unattractive. Third, when the sun is low in the sky, the light takes on golden or yellow tones that can really make the subject stand out.
Of sunrise and sunset, though, I give sunrise the slight edge. Why? For the very technical reason that there are very few people out and about at that time of day. Many times have I carefully framed the scene I wanted to capture and been about to trip the shutter when, out of nowhere, someone decides to sit down right in the middle of my composition. Now, I’m not saying the back of anyone’s head is unattractive, but I have never found one that adds anything to my image. The solution to this problem has been simple. Photograph at sunrise whenever possible.
I took the photograph above this morning atop Mt. Nebo. Mt. Nebo is about an hour and a half from my home. To capture this scene, I was up at 4:30, left my house around 5:00, and was at my location by 6:30. The temperature in the small town I went through just before driving up the mountain was 22 degrees which put the temperature on top of the mountain somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 degrees. With the wind blowing almost continuously, the wind chill was definitely in the single digits if not below zero. Even with a heavy coat on, the best I could manage was to shoot a couple of frames before heading back to my truck for a few minutes to warm up. Needless to say, I didn’t have to worry about photographing the back of anyone’s head!
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 40mm, 1/500 sec, f/8