7 Ideas to Shoot Stunning Landscape Photos in the Middle of the Day (LPQOTW)

Greetings my excellent friends it’s Josh Cripps here. And I’m back with another landscape photography question of the week. And this week’s question comes to us from Chris van Marter. And Chris asks, what advice do you have for taking landscape pictures in the middle of the day? I understand the reasons for shooting at sunrise and sunset, but what about the middle of the day? Like bliss, the default background photo for Microsoft XP? I like those types of blue sky white puffy cloud shots. Yeah, that’s a great question, Chris, because we are so conditioned as landscape photographers to think that the only time you can possibly shoot is during the magic hour when absolutely that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s so many fantastic photos to be taken in the middle of the day. And I talked about this a little bit in my, for landscape photography, myths busted video, but in this one, we’re going to dive in a little more. We’re going to talk in a little bit more depth. I’m going to give you a couple more ideas about what you can do to shoot in the middle of the day.

So the first thing that I think you need to do is basically get rid of your expectations, right? It’s not about going out there with, I’m going to force this light to work for the shot that I want rather it’s what kind of shots can I get with the light that I have? Most of the disappointment that comes from shooting in mid day light is thinking that we’re going to shoot some kind of crazy Epic grand landscape and the light just isn’t flattering for that kind of scene. So first I would just encourage you to look for the interesting moments that the light is actually creating, rather than trying to force the light, to fit into some idea of what you had to shoot.

And that being said, let’s talk about some of the things you can shoot in harsh midday light. And one of my favorite things to shoot in the middle of the day is any time you have atmosphere, like after a rainstorm, this kind of atmosphere tends to break up the harshness of the light and it provides depth and separation between all the different layers of the landscape. And it’s also one of the best times to see these really cool God beams like this. There are also other subjects that work fantastically well to photograph in that harsh midday light like backlit tree leaves. Say if you’re in peak fall color, or one of my favorites is any kind of smooth landscape. And what I mean by that is whenever you have soft, smooth flowing curves within the landscape, this can work beautifully with direct light. I’m talking about things like sand dunes or crops.

If they’re growing on Hills, like in the Paloose and Washington, what that smoothness does is it helps feather off the direct quality of the light, making it a lot more flattering. When you have bright midday light, you can also look for small scenes. A lot of times these macro scale subjects will look fantastic because the quality of light is uniform across that tiny little scale. Or you can look for moments where you have direct light spotlighting, just one part of an overall scene. And this can create beautiful photographs in the middle of the day. I also really love shooting high contrast black and whites in the middle of the day. The direct light can make for fantastic contrasts between light and dark. And of course you can always just try to find some shade somewhere, whether that’s under a rock or under a tree or under a cliff, because you’re going to get this really beautiful, soft uniform light that can be incredibly flattering for portraits or for flowers or small scale scenes or for all kinds of stuff.

So again, it really is just about getting rid of your expectations of, I want to create this photograph and I have this light, how can I smash those two together? It’s so much more enjoyable and rewarding to say, what is the light that I’ve got and what kinds of photos can I create? What kind of stories can I create with that light? And if you guys want to have even more inspiration and ideas and education about how to create wonderful, fantastic photography in the middle of the day in harsh quote unquote bad light, you got to check out a book from a photographer named T J thorn. I’ll link it down below. It’s an ebook specifically about how to photograph in the middle of the day. And so if this kind of photography interests you, I would highly recommend you click on the link in the description, support, TJ, improve your own photography.

It’s a double super bonus for everybody. And that’s going to do it for this question of the week. If you guys have any other questions about landscape photography that you think a lot of other people would like to know the answer to just pop them down in the comments and I’ll choose the best ones to feature in this segment at some point in the future. And if you enjoy this video, please, please, please. I would love it. If you could just like and subscribe, share it with your friends. It helps me out an incredible amount. It’s a really small thing, but it really does help me grow the channel and keep creating more videos like this one. So that’s going to do it from here. This is Josh Cripps signing off until next time have fun and happy shooting.

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