Wait for the Best Light

Colorado was a little cold in December so I escaped to a warmer place, Florida, for ten days. Among the trip, I spent two days in Miami. The first morning after I arrived in Miami, I went out to Miami beach hoping for a nice sunrise photo. I arrived at Miami Beach about 20 minutes before the sunrise. It was very cloudy but there was still some light piercing through the heavy clouds.

Before the sunrise. I took multiple exposures just in case I need to do HDR later in the post processing. But it turned out the most natural-looking method is to use a single exposure.

Before the sunrise. I took multiple exposures just in case I need to do HDR later in the post processing. But it turned out the most natural-looking method is to use a single exposure.

After taking the above shot, I thought the clouds would go away after the sun came up. But what really happened was just the opposite. The clouds became even heavier and eventually blocked all the sunlight. The sky became totally grey and lack of colors and contrast. I knew that if I want to get a nice sky in my photo, I would have to come back again.

And that is what I did. I came back to the same location the next morning. I was worried at first because the sky still didn't look great. So I walked along the beach waiting for the sun to come up. At the meantime, I wanted to find interesting objects that could be used as the foreground object in my photo to extend the depth of field. Luckily, I found some rocks and the waves hitting the rocks, I realized that I could use them as my foreground. I sat on the beach and waited for the sun to come up and change the lighting condition. Luckily, after the sun went above the horizon, the sky started to clear while the light was still soft and warm. I took multiple shots with the same composition so I can choose the best shape of the waves and the below is my personal favorite.

Miami Beach2-2.jpg

Unlike indoor studio shootings, for landscape photography, we don't get to control the lighting. If the lighting doesn't work at first, we have to wait for the best light. If it still doesn't happen, then we have to come back to the same location again to get good light. Sometimes one might even need to re-visit the same place three or four times before he or she could get good light. This is a challenge for landscape photography that we can't control what the nature will bring us, but I think this is also the fun part for landscape photography that give us diverse experiences.