Beware of the Time of Year

posted on 14th of january, 2009

You may or may not realize that the time of the year can greatly effect your shot. I am not talking about color in the leaves, or snow.....but shadows. Even here in Southern California, my photography is greatly effected by the time of the year despite the year long great weather. Some parts of the world are not greatly effected by this, but here at the 32° Latitude, we have to deal with a wide variety of solar angles.

At the Summer Solstice (June 21st), here in Los Angeles the Sun is actually at an angle of 79° from the ground which makes the shadows coming from buildings or trees much shorter on the ground. Near the time of the Winter Solstice (December 21st), the sun is at an angle of only 32° from the ground, which means that the shadows extend for a much longer distance on the ground.

I really noticed the effects of this when I recently photographed the UCLA campus just a couple weeks ago. Notice my images which have really long shadows and are limiting my shooting options, versus some of the other ones taken at the same location in the summer time....after all, a college campus looks more vibrant and more campus-like with more sunlight hitting the grass and the brick buildings. With the shadows, the campus lawn caused it to look dim and less exciting. It did lead me to some interesting Wide Angle Shots so that I eliminated the shadows from the shot.

Comments (3)

Posted by Chriskruger on January 16, 2009
What you say is, but there is more than just the longer shodow: it also has an influence on the duration of the so-called golden hours for photography.
Posted by Eclecticelegance on January 15, 2009
Very true! I have been having some of the same issues.
Posted by Teekaygee on January 15, 2009
Good point! I am usually thinking more about the time of day when it comes to shadows and about time of year in terms of seasonal impact. Now I will try to keep both in mind, so when I go somewhere and think there are too many long shadows, that another time of year might make for a much more interesting shot.

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Photo credits: Ahdrum, Salvador Ceja.

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