Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 206

Day 206 - Wild hairs, insanity, patience and disappointment

I got this wild hair and this was the week-end, all of the elements were in place: hot and dry, full moon, wheat field nearing harvest.

I have read all of the books that talk about the golden hour and although I have no reason to doubt anyone, I wanted to see for myself, so I put together my own little mini-project. I found a wheat field out in the open that was close to home.

I even defined mini rules for myself. I wanted roughly the exact same image at four different times in a 24 hour period:
  1. When the full moon was at it's highest in the sky
  2. Sunrise
  3. When the sun was at it's highest mid-day
  4. Sunset
I stayed pretty close to my set parameters and I learned a few valuable tidbits. I am completely sleep deprived. It was a week-end of multiple happy nappies, but never a full nights sleep.

And most importantly, I need to shout out a huge thank you to my partner Karen who has humored me all week-end with photo shoots at all hours of the day. Thank you Karen, from the bottom of my heart. You inspire, encourage and support me, I can't ask for anymore than that.

ISO 100, 105mm, f/10, 88.0 sec. 12:31:17 am, Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lit by the full moon
I picked out this field earlier in the week, easy access and close to home but I didn't really scout out the location. Arriving at midnight with just the light of the moon (where was my flashlight, you ask?) was a bit of a challenge, but I had enough moonlight to set up the tripod.

It occurred to me that only an insane photographer would go out in the middle of the night into the middle of a field just to get "the shot."

I used the bulb setting and since I didn't have a timer of any sort, with every click of the shutter I counted to 100 or more. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to manually focus. My car was parked on the other side of the highway, so I had Karen turn on the high beams and they just hit the top bar of the first wheel.

ISO 100, 96mm, f/13, 1/30 sec. 6:11:28 am, Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunrise or shortly there after
Three hours of sleep and we were back up so that we could capture sunrise at the wheat field. I was there about 30 minutes early and really wasn't that impressed. The lighting was pretty darn flat, the skies were faded to a not so nice gray.

I watched as the sun came over the horizon and I still wasn't that impressed. I waited around and was walking back to the car about 20 minutes after official sunrise when I turned around and saw this.

I scrambled back to my spot, set up and watched as the sun gave me those famous golden moments. If I had left the minute the sun rose, I would have missed this. A little patience definitely paid off.

ISO 100, 92mm, f/22, 1/125 sec., 1:44:47 pm, Sunday, July 25, 2010

Under the mid-day sun
This one took the most tweaking in Lightroom, but I do think that full sun gets a bit of a bum rap. It didn't take too long to set up and get my image.

ISO 100, 75mm, f/8.0, 1/60 sec., 8:35:08 pm, July 25, 2010

Sunset, the last light of day
I was disappointed at sunset. I thought I had time to stop for gas, but I didn't. This was the only image I captured as the light began to fade fast with 15 minutes to go before actual sunset.

I hung around hoping to somehow redeem my sunset image, but it never worked, at least not with the parameters that I had set for myself.

Yup, lessons learned.


  1. great experiment! love that early morning light! i'm frequently out in my yard running around taking photos before i go to work.

  2. Nice experiment, thanks for sharing. I like the mid-day shot better than I suspected I would, it doesn't look all that harsh to me.

  3. I absolutley love this experiment,my friend Laura did a similar one with a ferris wheel and the results were so cool.

    I love the sunrise one and while you don't like the sunset one I think it is very pretty!

  4. I love this idea and you picked a great subject matter. I have sometimes a hard time with sunset and in my experience if you aren't shooting into it, you don't get the light you want.

    I absolutely love the sunrise shot. The lighting feels warm and inviting & its the one I most want to experience.

    I recently thought of an idea to shoot the same shot for 365 days for a difference in the weather and then thought to do the same shot for 365 days at different times of the day. It would entail being in town for a year though....

  5. What a great idea and experiment! I love all the shots! Sunrise shot is awesome!

  6. Hey, what a great idea Terri! Great work. All of the shots are wonderful but I do like the sunrise the best. This experiment showed great dedication for sure!

    This is what I have learned with all of the sunsets I shot last fall: I found it was best to arrive in the field an hour to an hour and a half before sunset. Then I would get set up and just watch and wait. There were thousands of migrating birds to watch and shoot so it wasn't really just waiting. Then all of a sudden the light would change and it was wonderful! I think the light is different on each day, so maybe you just didn't get lucky with the evening light on that one day. The actual sunset has just a few moments of spectacular so would have to be there shooting as it happened then I would stick around for a while after the sunset as the sky continued to change. I absolutely adore that experience in the field. Maybe some day you'll have an opportunity to take that kind of time to experiece it for yourself. You won't regret it!

  7. What a great experiment and great lessons learned. I am impressed that you managed to pull it off (with a little help of coarse). I like each of them for different reasons. Nice job Terri.

  8. I actually like the sunset photo the best. it is very subtle, almost painterly. Great idea! Glad you shared your lessons.

  9. great experiment! the shots are all wonderful! Sunrise is my favorite, if I had to choose.