Same Photo, Different Lighting Conditions

If you don’t change the subject of a photo, and don’t change the camera or lens or significantly change the settings; then what can so dramatically change the way a photo looks?
In this article it is weather and lighting conditions.

When you are travelling around you can see the wonder of landscapes around you and how they can change when the sun come up and goes down, when a storm comes over or moves on.  You can see a newly painted environment which is ever changing. Sometimes we don’t see the difference because the change is slow but there is value in noticing the wonder of things around us and what causes the differences. Just to appreciate the view and take a photo.

Variation can come from different:

  • Times of day causing different lighting
  •  Extent and shades of cloud cover
  •  Sunset/Sunrise light
  •  Midday light
  •  Fog, rain, snow, smog and haze
  •  Glare
  •  High temperatures – heat shimmer
  •  Wind on water

Same Photo Different Light Conditions 3_4

In the example photos 1 to 4 the time of the day is the same.
Interestingly each of them have very similar cloud cover extent in the photos but the light and clouds ‘out of view’ are very different causing the variation you can see.

Each of the images have been processed as you would do with images from a DSLR camera, however I’ve kept the look and feel of the photos very close to the view at the time of taking. Most camera settings accept very close to the same, except for the exposure which I changed to match the overall light available so that the photo would actually be correctly exposed.

The differences in the photos can be quite dramatic due to the weather changes. Photo 1 was taken when there is a lot of contrast and has good clarity. The sunset had a rich orange colour but very little of it was visible across the sky. Photo 2 was very dark looking for that time of night and the sky was covered by dark cloud. Notice that where there is no cloud you can see that the sky looks white, not orange.

Photos 3 and 4 were taken when there was a lot less cloud overhead. There is less contrast and more haze producing a more washed out look. This also caused more glare over the water. The breeze was stronger which made wave action causing the glare to be more prominent on the water. The yellow sunset does not add as much quality to photo 4 as it does to photo 1 because the other components of the photo do not give the contrast needed to make full use of the rich orange sky.

Same Photo Different Light Conditions 1_2

I think it is very rewarding to see a scene “at it’s best” so if you are travelling somewhere and like to take a good photo, take it when it you see the light and weather working for you. Don’t wait for another day as the environment you are in may not occur again for some time. Get up early and see the scenery at sunrise (that may be do as I say, not as I do).

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