Dawn. It’s a bit of a myth that landscape photographers only go out at dawn and dusk, and that we avoid the midday sun like the plague. There are plenty of ways to take interesting nature shots during the daylight hours, but it remains the case that the best light of the day can generally be found during the Golden Hours, those either side of sunset and sunrise.
One of the challenges of shooting at these times of day is that the temperature of the light is constantly changing, meaning that we either need to be really on top of our white balance, or shoot in Raw and adjust later. I do not recommend shooting Jpeg at either end of the day if you expect a decent result.
This shot was taken at the Lake of Two Rivers in the Algonquin National park in Ontario. I knew, from the terrific iPad app, Lightrac, exactly where the sun was going to rise, and I had tagged this location a year ago as one I wanted to shoot. Rising at 6am, I was set up and waiting as the dawn broke behind the island in the centre of the lake. The sky moved swiftly from a dark blue to the rosy streams of dawn, the early mist was still visible before burning off as the sun’s heat grew. A fellow photographer I met at the site said that he’d been there all week and this was the best morning by far. Lucky? Yes, to an extent, but I like to think that some careful planning and preparation played a part also.