When making sunset or sunrise photographs, a few seconds can make a great or small difference in the quality of the light. It doesn’t matter much how obvious or subtle the difference. What matters is that the light quality is ever shifting, ever mutating from one state to another.
The changing light is what makes it interesting and is the reason why we will stand out in the elements with a camera in our hands, watching the land, sky and clouds, along with the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars for long stretches of time. We know from experience that at some time around dusk or dawn the quality of light will peak, will be at its best for a fleeting moment, and if we’re paying attention, we’ll capture that light.
After all, if the light did not change, one could step outside once, make a single photograph, then give up landscape photography altogether (at least in a single locale). Boring. Few of us would have the incentinve to pick up our cameras at all, assuming that humanity bothered to invent the photographic process to begin with, rather than leave imaging to the painters, wood block printers, and crayon scribblers.
Those of us perverse enough to pursue landscape photography despite the unchanging light would find ourselves thinking about transportation as much as light-capturing devices. We would be hurrying from one spot to another on the surface of this planet or above it in our automobiles, airplanes, and helicopters, or on our motorcycles, bikes, and skateboards, frantically making photos in various places, trying to capture something different.
The photographs in this post are pairs of landscapes made at a nominal time of one minute apart to illustrate the shifting of light quality.
Photographs in this post are Copyright 2009 by RRAlexander