Recently I was working on a project that had me taking quite a few photos of the same or similar subjects. In one case, I was trying to capture the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse with the old Tappan Zee Bridge in the background. The photo above was the second attempt at the same subject and below is the initial attempt. The photos could not be more different.
Now, I wanted to emphasize the differences with respect to light and color. I do realize that the angle, scope and distance from the subject was significantly different. This had not been my original attention. Unfortunately, as the construction started on the bridge, I found the scope of my photography limited by the cranes and other equipment that was now gracing the landscape. However, setting that aside, what I was hoping to emphasize here was what a difference things like the time of day, the cloud cover, the time of year and the character of the light. Implicitly, we know and understand this and give it lip service, but often our minds convince us that once you’ve taken a picture of a subject, there is no point in retaking the same shot under different conditions. This is completely untrue. A day without cloud cover has an entirely different feel than a day where there are low hanging storm clouds, which is entirely different again from a day where there are white fluffy clouds. This, in turn, is different than a photo taken during the “blue hour” just before dusk.
The photo on top was taken at the early part of the “blue hour” – that is the hour before dusk. This gave the photo an entirely different feel from the cloudy day with bright sunshine that were the conditions when the first photo was shot. Part of photography is to “capture the moment”. But you also need to capture the “right” moment. So next time you have your camera out, think about what message you are trying to send. Are the conditions right for that type of photo? Should you consider coming back and trying again at a different time of day? You’ll be surprised at how many photo-ops there are for the same subject.
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