Mar 14 2009

desert sun

Published by at 8:29 pm under process,teaching,travel,visual concepts

Many photographers only want to shoot in the “golden hours” at sunrise and sunset. I recall being in a workshop with one of my heros Ernst Haas and hearing him talk about “looking for the light”. He believed that there was always good light at every part of the day. You just had to know where to find it and more importantly – how to see the great light.

What is fabulous about the desert is that even the high noon, burnt-out light that I often avoid looks right in the desert. The subject matter lends itself to that hot and desolate look that goes with the harsh light. Here is a blooming occotillo cactus positioned against an open sky.

20090307 stk 59081 desert sun

Near high noon show the empty expanse of the desert

You can then revisit the same subject matter later in the day to achieve a completely different look. This time it was close to sunset, with the help of my friend Martin who helped to flag the sun off my lens, I was able to shoot right into the sun and place the tall occotillo cactus against the mountain instead of the blue sky.

20090308 stk 80391 desert sun

Late afternoon lighting shooting directly into the sun

Different treatments of same subject shot with very different light. It is all a matter of of telling the right story at the time of day you are shooting.

Mark Harmel

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