Finding the Light. Hurry up and wait

 With  natural light photography here is the typical scenario…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go…

Go home

I thought of this as I sat on my patio this evening eating dinner. I watched the late day sun light up some mums I just planted and I watched as it was… there, perfect and gone within about 3 minutes.


And that’s how it is often when I go out to do my shoots. I thought about this at my last shoot at the beach.  I watched other photographers shoot 2 hours well before sunset. At 15 minutes to sunset I strolled up to my truck and grabbed my camera  and tripod. 10 minutes to, I setup, Wait, wait, wait.  5 minutes to – shoot – sunset – 5 more minutes shoot. Pack up go home.

In this image I shot, even though I shot a series of images over a 10 minute period, this is the only image that is usable because it’s the only one where the foreground rocks of the tidepools are illuminated. All the other images the background sun was the same. but for only a few seconds was the foreground light correct



6 minutes later

Too many are in a rush and they think any light is great light or they can ‘make’ it great light. Great light is fast and fleeting. There is really only a few minutes when it is perfect to capture. sometimes it just never is and you simply won’t get an outstanding image…you won’t

So wait for it, find it and shoot it. Will you know it when you …See it?: I hope that you will. It’s what this is all about.




  1. Nick Roberts September 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Excellent tip, I know I’m guilty of trying to squeeze more images out of the last remnants of light and the early beginnings too. What is really frustrating is to be consumed with something else to shoot while waiting and finding that I’ve used up my time trying to find an image when I could have just settled down and enjoyed the scene as it unfolded before my eyes.

    • Peter September 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      I agree Nick, sometimes it better just to enjoy where you are and then just wait for that Moment. Thanks for the comment

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