I just got back from another teaching tour in Europe, and it made me realize more than ever how much I love to photograph in midday sun. Love the quality of light we can get then. I will make this a 4 part series, in part 1 I will show some examples with diffused sun + a reflector. This shot was done during a class in Norway on May 3rd. According to the iPhone app, brightest noon that day was 1:15pm. “Noon” is seldom 12pm. I wanted to do my demo when the sun was as high as possible, so these shots were done between 1:07 and 1:32, the time most photographers consider “the worst time” of day. NOT ME! Okay, let’s start looking at some images:
Image #1.This image is taken at 1:32 pm with a 70-200mm@170 and f2.8. If you look at the overview underneath you will see how we have diffused the midday sun into a soft nice light with a California Sunbounce Sun-Swatter Pro . I have an assistant reflecting sun into her face with a silver reflector.
Overview for Image #1. See how far out of the my shooting area the Sun Swatter is. That is one of its most unique features, it frees you up so much more than other diffusers. (This overview is taken within a few minutes from the the shot on top, but with the same technique).
Image #2. Time 1:07:05 pm. 70-200mm@200 at f4. In this shot I have placed the model in the direct sun right out of the shade to get a cold shadowed background (higher Kelvin temperature there). I just used a small soft silver reflector to give her face a pop of highlight. We also get a bit of fill light from the sun hitting the white wall about 25 ft from her (see overview right underneath text). This direct sun approach gives more layers of light and is more dramatic than image #3 shot a few minutes later.
Overview for image #2 taken 1:07:10 pm 5 seconds after Image #2. The Sun Swatter has no effect here, just the soft nice silver reflector giving her a nice highlight and the white house wall giving some nice fill. The sun hitting her adds drama, see image #3 for the more diffused version.
Image #3. Time 1:07:54 so within seconds we shoot this variations. It’s shot with a 70-200mm f2.8 at 130mm and f4. This image has less drama, more overall soft light—it’s a matter of taste, both look good for midday sun, I think. What a GREAT time of day to SHOOT!!!
Overview Image #3. Time 12:07:42 pm. Notice that the Sun Swatter creates a soft, diffused light on and in front of the model.
Conclusion: I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING IN MIDDAY SUN, watch for parts 2, 3 and 4 coming soon.