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What's your favorite time to hike and take photos?

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What's your favorite time to hike and take photos?

Postby HikingGeek.com » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:08 am

What's your favorite time to hike and take photos?

Looking back through the photos I’ve taken over the years, I always seem to gravitate towards those that were taken around sunrise. In particular the 2 hours that surround sunrise, approximately starting an hour before until an hour after. When people hear what time I start my hikes, I'm usually told I'm crazy and that the views can't possibly be worth the trouble.

With daylight savings time ending this week, I've been thinking about this and the fact that colder weather and needing to start even earlier to get these shots tends to decrease the number of people that are available (or crazy enough) to hike with me. I'm hoping I can trick some of my new hiking buddies to head out with me still.

Anyway, here are some of the sunrise photos I've taken on my early hikes. They never do what I saw justice, but they help me remember why I need to get out there:
My Favorite Time to Hike and Take Photos (gallery of 40+ sunrise photos)

Here are some highlights:





When's your favorite time to hit the trail?

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Re: What's your favorite time to hike and take photos?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:09 pm

A question of favorite time of day for landscape work has usually been an opening for those that strongly prefer early and late light.

One can see from the large body of work on my website that I have been exposing images at all hours of the day not just early and late as many photographers especially younger enthusiasts seem to be focused on. My strongest mid summer Sierra images are more likely between about 7am and 10 am PDT or 5pm and 7pm PDT.

The subject of best time of day for photography had already been beaten to death on Internet photography discussion boards a decade ago that rather strongly established numbers of well recognized pros had strong work taken at other than early and late times.

Personally I don't much value significant numbers of early and late images others post that they apparently think have strong aesthetic value. Not that those images aren't nice but that many IMO are simply of modest value. Many such images work well as small images complementing web posts or stories but not as large detailed prints. A classic example is the image with a high ISO DSLR of some distant peak, a small element within some image frame that is in early warm red light, with the rest of an image dim that predictably in post processing is jacked up with saturation sliders. And that also doesn't mean that there are some fewer numbers of such images that I value highly. Galen Rowell in Mountain Light presented numbers of examples of how that can be done effectively. A couple of the later on my site.



With early and late imagery beyond just preference in subjects or aesthetics is the issue of public honesty.

Thus additionally are significant numbers of landscape and nature enthusiasts that image dawn, sunrise, sunset, and dusk conditions that strongly manipulate skies unnaturally and are not honestly up front even in the smallest way with their public audiences about how an image was created. There is nothing wrong with creating such photo art but rather the issue is most that publicly display such prints or post such images on public boards or gallery websites are the last to admit those images were manipulated in post processing in even the smallest way and will start kicking and screaming at any mention that they ought do so. Even back in 1996 I had Photoshop 3.0 skills to totally replace skies and today that is in fact what increasing numbers are doing. For years photography and Photoshop periodicals on news stands have increasingly promoted and explained how to perform these manipulations. For some it might just be removing awkward clouds and adjusting hue and saturation sliders. At an extreme the urban graphic art pro takes a shot of wonderful cloudy dusk skies from a Hawaiian vacation and replaces a boring sky of Half Dome taken from Yosemite Valley but never mentions what they did to their public audience in even the smallest way. Although I think focusing one's work on early and late is fine, my above criticism of this era's status quo tempers my own interest in making such images.
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