Have you ever heard people talking about the ‘golden hours’ of photography?
It’s usually described as those hours in and around dawn and dusk (particularly dusk) when the light is warm (golden) and coming in on an angle that makes photographing subjects easier (ie the light is coming in from a low angle which makes it more even on a subject’s face for example).
Some photographers exclusively shoot in these times of the day (for good reason) – however in doing so they could be overlooking other opportunities that midday photography presents us with.
One such opportunity of photographing with the sun high in the sky is the way that it highlights texture on vertical surfaces.
I noticed this for the first time when traveling in Tasmania (the island state off the south eastern coast of the mainland of Australia). Tasmania (or Tassie as we call it) is a wonderful place for photographers due to both it’s landscape but also heritage. I enjoyed photographing the old buildings there and noticed the effect that the midday sun had when photographing them.
With the Sun high in the sky the roughness of the walls of these buildings was accentuated as the light cast small shadows along the wall. While the impact was subtle it added a real texture and point of interest to many of the shots – something I wouldn’t have achieved by shooting in the golden hours.
PS: of course it’s not just overhead light hitting walls (or other surfaces) that can create a sense of texture in a shot. Sidelight and uplight can give a similar impact – here’s some examples: