The Magic Hour

What is the best time to photograph the landscape? The magic hour of course! The magic hour is a half hour before and after the sun rises, and a half hour before and after the sun sets. I'm guessing most of you already knew that, but what is better, morning or evening? The magic hour in the morning is the best! Evening light is great and both magic hours possess the best quality, direction, and color of light available for shooting the landscape. The quality of light is soft and warm, the direction is pleasing and will help define and give depth to your subjects.

So why is morning light better? As the sun heats up the air, the air will hold more moisture. Makes sense right? More moisture, equals more dust and other particles in the air. Therefore the best magic hour is in the morning when the air is the coolest, and there are less atmospheric obstructions. To take this a step further, the best light, meaning that there will be the least amount of atmospheric obstructions, will occur on a cold winter morning. The colder the temp the more clear the air will be.

Now that you know this, will you get up early to see the sun rise?

This weeks post image was taken a few minutes before sunrise. The sun provided the color to the otherwise dull clouds as the moon was still up and shining bright.Shisler -Lake-Photo

Ojai Valley California

Ojai Valley California is a beautiful small town located east of Santa Barbara. The valley runs east and west so it's a great location for sunrise or sunset. There is a little parking area that will hold about five or six cars for a short hike to overlook the valley. Click here for where to park. Once you park you will have to hike this old dirt road to several different valley views. There is a spot where there are 2 park benches so you can sit and watch the sunset and it's the most scenic area along the road.

Ojai is a nice small town that has that ole western feel when driving through the valley. The overlook was nice as well but it is filled with houses, cars, power lines ect. I didn't really have expectations when heading to visit Ojai but all the modernism's of the valley kinda cramped my style photographically. So I didn't really take that many photographs. I did however stay for sunset which was beautiful. Also the valley has a couple different Orange and or Lemon fields and being a Michigan boy it's very interesting to see.

Over all it was a decent trip. The drive was nice, the sunset was nice and the town was cute, but I won't make the trip again.There are plenty of photographs to be made so everything from a wide angle to a telephoto will be useful. I found myself using my 70-200 to isolate scenes so I could focus on the natural landscape. If you are close by it's worth a day trip but if not your better off visiting somewhere else.

Traverse City Sunflowers

I have seen many sunflower field pictures but I never been to a sunflower field. I started researching sunflower fields. Google came up with a few, and I even got in touch with George Lepp, to see where he goes to take sunflower pictures. He said Goodland Kansas. Well that is a bit too far away to go for sunflowers so I kept researching. I found some possible fields in Northern California but it's still a good 6 or so hour drive up there. I kept looking and then I found it.  Traverse City Sunflowers. It's true and it just so happened I was going there visiting family and friends.

The fields I found are just north of Traverse City off of M72 heading towards Elk Rapids. I took the turn off of 72 to Bates rd. Once there I just pulled off the road, got out and started taking pictures. I went during sunrise being that was the direction the flowers were facing and I could get some good front lighting. In the evening you would have back lighting and it might prove a bit more difficult getting a proper exposure.

It was late July when I went  and some of the flowers had yet to open so I would maybe try middle to the end of August to get more blooms. I am not sure who owns the fields so for the most part I just stayed on the shoulder of the road. If I was to venture further in I would get permission to do so.

Never the less it was fun and I will be going back there as long as they keep planting them.

If you're in the area it's worth a gander.