Tac­tile land­scapes

A clear sun just above the hori­zon sharp­ens up any land­scape, but there are risks

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia Freeman On... -

This type of light­ing is nat­u­rally at­trac­tive and nat­u­rally pop­u­lar for land­scapes be­cause of the way in which it sends long bands of light and shade across the scene.

As with the other, small­er­scale rak­ing-light sit­u­a­tions, it de­pends not just on the sun be­ing low, but also on re­ally clear air. As the sun gets lower, its light has to pass through much more at­mos­phere than when it’s shin­ing straight down onto the land, and this acts like a soft­en­ing fil­ter. On top of this, haze and pol­lu­tion tend to hug the ground, so that those last few de­grees of­ten see a rapid soft­en­ing of shadow edges. In prac­tice, this means that what looked like a bright day an hour be­fore sun­set un­ex­pect­edly be­comes al­most shad­ow­less three-quar­ters of an hour later. The les­son here is not to ex­pect the crisp light to last for a moment longer than you can see it, even though hang­ing on un­til the last minute is what most of us do in these con­di­tions. The an­swer is to start early and keep shoot­ing as the sun drops to­wards the hori­zon, be­cause the frame you just shot may well turn out to be your best.

From a dis­tance, rice ready for har­vest­ing takes on an al­most fur-like tex­ture in late af­ter­noon sun­light, while the ter­races cast dis­tinct shad­ows

Low sun and the clear air of th e 5 00 0 - m etre plateau of western Ti­bet give a crisp tex ture to the hills

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