Photographers Around The Clock


As photographers our medium is light. We will go out at anytime of day or night and manipulate the light to our needs. We are not afraid of the 4am alarm clock. We worry not about working at 10pm. So long as we have light and a subject we are happy bunnies. 

Of course some of us favour particular times of day. Personally I am very much attracted to the morning blue and golden hours, other might love the midday sun. This all leads me, in a very uncoordinated way to my question. What type of photographers will you encounter on your shoot today? In this article we are going to take a tongue in cheek look at who shoots at various times of the day.

The Moody Blue Photographer

They are moody because they are up in the morning blue hour. Outside the tropics and in the summer that can be very early indeed. Their mood is not enhanced by the fact that they are wearing several layers of clothes to counter to pre-sunrise cold and a large tripod to counter the pre-sunrise lack of light.

The Moody Blue will set his or her alarm for two hour before sunrise. They will not set a snooze because they know if they go into snooze mode they will never get up. Once that alarm goes, they leap out of bed like a rat up a drain pipe, jump into an icy cold shower, drink a shot of caffeine masquerading as coffee and hit the streets. All this without even knowing if the sky is cloudy as it’s too dark to see. The Moody Blue is a dedicated photographer who overcomes all obstacles to get moody blue shots. 

Moody blue hour twilight cityscape
The Moody Blue will be seen in the predawn twilight. By Kai Dahms on Unsplash

The Golden Tog

As the sun pokes it’s head over the horizon and the Moody Blue folds his tripod and peels off several layers of clothes, a new photographer will arrive on the scene. The Golden Tog, loves the morning golden hour. As they have had time for a hot shower and a decent coffee they are insufferably chirpy.

As the sun rises the Golden Tog will be firing away with a long lens, sans tripod, at everything and anything that crosses the low sun’s path. They will have set their white balance to very red, just to reek every last ounce of gold out of the golden hour. In Lightroom they have taped their saturation slider to full right. 

Silhouette of photographer holding camera.
The ever chirpy Golden Tog is seen photographing the morning sunrise. By Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

The Mad Dog

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun as the Noel Coward song reminds us. The Mad Dog, does not like mornings. They are not particularly fond of evenings. They will go out in the middle of the day to capture their shots.

The Mad Dog is easy to spot. They will have one of two accessories attached to their camera, either a flashgun or a polariser. Oddly, some Mad Dogs have both. 

Mad Dogs, love harsh shadows and high contrast. They are the abstract artists, shooting symmetry , geometry and any other metry that works will in harsh light. 

They crave the deep blue sky that the midday often doesn’t give you, hence the copious use of the polariser. Mad Dogs are prolific shooters, or perhaps more aptly point and shooters. However once the sun begins it’s after noon decent, they head to the nearest bar for a refreshing beer and an intensive chimp.

Two photographers shoot in harsh light
Mad Dogs seen in their natural habitat, the midday sun. By Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Sunset Stan

Sunset Stan emerges in the late afternoon as the evening golden hour begins to kick in. Like the Golden Tog he shoots sunsets. Unlike the Golden Tog, he doesn’t really care if the sunset has a foreground interest. Stan will have a long lens and an even longer lens hood. He will be wearing a baseball cap and dark sunglasses. He will also, almost certainly have sunblock under his eyes and on his nose, all to protect him from the devastating rays of the setting sun.

Like Mad Dog, Stan is a prolific shooter, to the point that he will seek out higher points just to eek out every last drop of the glorious sunset he is shooting. 

As soon as the sun is down and the air begins to cool, he quietly takes his leave to allow Twilight Tina to strut her stuff.

Two photographers shooting sunset
Twilight Trever with his trademark reversed baseball cap. By Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

Twilight Tina

There are two controls that are vital to Twilight Tina. They are the image review button and the image zoom dial. Why is this I hear you scream? Well, unlike the Moody Blue, Tina is more of a spontaneous shooter. Not for her, the unwieldy tripod. Who needs tripods when you have ISO.

Twilight Tinas can be seen wandering trough the evening blue hour, randomly taking shots, then chimping to check for camera shake and noise. As the evening progresses, the ISO increases as does the chimping. Twilight Tinas have been know to take amazing if somewhat noisy shots. 

Photo by Zoe Pappas

Nighttime Trevor

To round off our tongue in cheek list of stereotypes is Nighttime Trevor. Trevor is a solitary creature that wanders the city backstreets in the very early hours of the morning. He shoots deserted streets, quiet back alleys and wide angle moonscapes.

He is a meticulous photographer, carrying all the necessary gear for very long exposures, tripod, remote releases and exposure calculators. He also loves the starburst effect of very small apertures and rarely shoots anything less than f16. For this reason he is often seen standing on street corners for hours on end, waiting for his exposure to finish. Trevors are often quite large, well built photographers with nerves of steel. City streets in the early hours can be mean places. 

Photographer shooting street late at night
Nighttime Trevor prowls the deserted city streets. By Harold Wijnholds on Unsplash.

So that concludes our little rock around the clock look at different types of photographers. In these dark and frustrating times, it’s important to poke a little fun at ourselves, especially if it’s difficult to actually go out to shoot. From my point of view, I am very much a Moody Blue with hints of Nighttime Trevor. What broad stereotype would you place yourself in? Let us know in the comments below. 

Further Reading:

  1. Canon Vs Nikon
  2. Surprise! Not All Photographers Think Alike
  3. The Seven Deadly Sins Of Photography
  4. Here Are 4 Camera Features That Are Nice To Have But You Don’t Need
  5. Will Cameras Learn to “Compose”?

About Author

Jason has more than 35 years of experience as a professional photographer, videographer and stock shooter. You can get to know him better here.

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