Don't hang up your camera in summer!
There is more to photograph in the summer than you realise
I often hear photographers say that they will pretty much hang up their cameras in the summer because it is a bad time for landscape photography.
Well, they are wrong.
The image below was shot this July.
In this article I’ll give you a few tips on what to photograph in the summer
Yes, it’s true that for the most part summer is not the best time for landscape photography.
During the summer, the sun gets high in the sky very early in the day, resulting in strong, direct sunlight. This can create harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and an overall unflattering look in certain situations. The high sun also causes the colours to appear flat and washed out.
Therefore this does restrict you to the sunrise and sunset periods. Problem with that is they are extremely early or very late. Often, in the case of sunrise once the sun is up it isn’t long before the light becomes too harsh. Additionally, the sunrise is usually the best time because the cooler air makes your scene much clearer. Sunsets can often be hazy after hot days because of the heat and dust that has built up in the atmosphere during the day.
In summertime most of the great locations are crowded with tourists also.
So, is it really worth heading out? Yes it is, because while all of the above is true, there are certain shots that can only be captured in the summer!
As stated earlier, this shot was taken in July. It is the sun rising over the peak of Mount Storzic in the Kamnik Alps in Slovenia. The church is the renowned church of Saint Primus and Felician at Jamnik.
Almost every photographer that has visited Slovenia has photographed this in spring, autumn or winter. But not many, other than local Slovene photographers, come here to photograph in the summer.
Big mistake!!! There are only two times in the year you can capture this, once in May as the sun moves north and again in July when it moves back south. The rest of the year the sun rises much further off to the right of this scene. So it can only be captured in the summer!
SAINT THOMAS CHURCH
A short drive over the hills and you come to the church of Saint Thomas. Once again this is famous among photographers who flock here at every other time of the year except summer.
And once again, this is the only time you can capture the sun rising over the Kamnik Alps mountains behind the church. It is only possible to photograph in the summer.
Around the summer solstice the sun has moved as far north as it will go. It brings it to this point where it rises over the Kamnik Alps close to this church. It’s the only time you can get the sun in the composition like this.
Lake Bled gets packed in summer with swimmers, kayakers and sups. However, get up really early and you can catch the sun rising over the Karavanke Alps from a variety of great viewpoints with the island church and castle in your composition. Yes you guessed it, this is the only time of year you can do it.
These two images were taken just a week apart from a viewpoint just a little further on from the main boardwalk where most people photograph from. It’s a nice side on view that allows you to get more of Karavanke Alps in the frame.
From the elevated viewpoint of Ojstrica you can also get a great shot of the sun rising over the mountains. From here you can shoot this right from spring to early autumn.
This photo was taken in September.
There are many great apps for planning photoshoots like this. Photopills is one, and you can even use the Augmented Reality while there on location. However, the best app to pinpoint the exact position on the mountains where the sun will rise, is PeakFinder.
This app is great because you can simply point to towards your scene and it will show you a map of the mountains you are looking at, along with all the names of their peaks. But at sunrise or sunset, it will also show you where the sun will crest a mountainside or top at each end of the day!
THE POSITION OF THE SUN
From a certain viewpoint, the position of the sunrise can make all the difference. A couple of weeks ago I photographed one of the most amazing sunrises from that side on view of Lake Bled. Because the sun was coming up further north and closer to the clouds in my frame, the colours started at dawn already, a good hour before actual sunrise and then simply exploded. Here are two of those photos:
THE FULL MOON RISING
As well as the sun rising in certain locations only in summer, the same can be said for the full moon. When the moon is full, it is directly opposite the sun. So when the sun sets in the northwest during summer, there is a time when the full moon rises in the southeast. Conversely, when the sun rises in the northeast, the full moon sets in the southwest.
There are certain times when the full moon can rise or set right at the point of sunset or sunrise.
FULL MOON RISING OVER LJUBLJANA CASTLE AT SUNSET
In July, the full moon comes up right behind the castle clocktower in Ljubljana from a certain viewpoint in Tivoli Park right at the point of sunset. I captured this several years ago, using a couple of great apps to determine the exact moment. You can watch the video below.
FULL MOON RISING OVER DURDLE DOOR
Normally July is the worst time to photograph at Durdle Door or anywhere along the south coast of England because the sun sets over the land to the north and you lose the soft light that the low sun gives you. However, it is the time when you can get the best shot of the full moon over the rock arch, as I discovered purely by accident many years ago.
Now you know what to photograph in the summer
So it just goes to show what there is to photograph in the summer. So get out there and make the most of these unique moments around you.
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