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Noel Coward wrote that only mad dogs and Englishmen would dare go out in the midday Sun. Fortunately for us, Noel didn't include photographers in those that shouldn't.
Now that we have been up since 4am for the First Light at the beach and spent a pleasant morning strolling through the gardens in the Second Light, we may as well stick it out for the rest of the day. I still have some space on my CF card. Do you? So lets get out from under this tree and enjoy the rest of the day.
My watch says 11.01am and it's heating up. It's going to stay this way until about 2pm so some preparation is in order. Looking out there, you might think there isn't much to offer. But you are very much mistaken.
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Other than some UV cream and a hat, a comfort stop and a cool drink, I'm ready. I've snapped on a wide zoom (17-35mm) because I'm not heading anywhere special. That's my ‘nothing special in mind' lens. I'm going to wander to see where life takes me. Since I cast only a little shadow to follow I'll let my nose lead the way. It's big enough not to loose sight of in a crowd.
I'll do a quick pass by the beach to see if there is anything going on. The glare will be severe so I'll slip on a polerising filter to cut back on the reflections and increase the blueness of the sky. You might be lucky enough to spot some interesting landforms as well ….. whatever your preference.
Last week the storms made the sky a bit more interesting but you take what you can get when it comes to the weather.
And when things start to happen you don't consult your watch to find out if its within your allocated shooting time.
Just because its midday, there's not reason to be wasting your time in a library with a good book – or not!
If you're looking for people doing interesting things, go have lunch with them. People, for some reason, swarm around food outlets at this time of the day. I don't have a lot of luck with my pick-up lines but you might try: ‘I like the look of that pasta. Can I have a bite?'
If the weather permits, stay outdoors and shoot over the top of your sandwich. The wide angle will help here. Since there will be plenty of light, find a good depth of field and the focus will take care of itself. This is candid stuff – not museum masterpieces, so enjoy the moment without the hassles of perfect picture control.
You might be lucky enough to have a local market handy if it's the weekend. The colours will be bright in this full sun so search out those in the red end of the spectrum.
If you are near a local Mall, have a walk down the thoroughfare. If it's too hot you may have the place to yourself. Look around for those colours again. Assume that anyone who looks a bit strange has been affected by the Sun's heat and give them some space; cranky fairies included.
Keep in mind the shadows will be about 8 stops below the sun lit promenade, so don't expect too much detail up alley ways and through doorways.
The contrast at this time of the day is extreme and it can be used to your advantage. If you have some countryside nearby look out for full sun on textured surfaces. The sky might get a bit burnt out here so keep your horizon high or totally out of the picture.
If you choose to include the horizon, convert to B&W and darken the sky with the blue slider in the B&W adjustment layer. It looks better than a big blob of white overhead.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing the tourist thing and taking that shot from the lookout with the busload of grey nomads on their ‘Round The World Expedition. I fit right in.
I love the fountains at this time of the day. The water sparkles but you might need to walk around to find the right angle. Then wait for the lunchtime crowd to pass by. Someone will catch your eye.
Of course, if you live in some miserable climate like Brighton or Vancouver and it rains all the time, you can still go out. The wet streets provide a great atmosphere for you to practice your skills or just record your memories.
The old buildings are worth a look. Because the Sun is high in the sky, the shadows will be short. You will find one side of the building in light shadow, though. This is probably a bit easier to work with as far as exposure is concerned.
But don't neglect the sunny side. Again, the contrast will be extreme and this can give you some interesting textures and shadows to play with.
Those hours between 11am and 2pm when most people are having a siesta, lunch or a respite in the air-conditioning can be a rewarding and exciting time for you with your camera if you are willing.
Oh, and save some memory for our early afternoon shoot. There's always a sunset on the way.
Besides. if you're making excuses for not taking photographs you're only half serious.