Putting The Early Morning Sun To Work

May 10th, 2011 by Mike Moats

Well, well, turns out there IS a sun, (we haven’t seen it much this spring) and it was out the other day.  I got out early to beat the wind.  Once that sun gets up and heats up the air, it starts the wind moving.  

Depending on what I’m shooting, I may use the sun for some backlit images.  Not a lot of plants up yet, but have enough Skunk Cabbage and May Apple plants to work with. 

Here is the patch of Skunk Cabbage that I’m working.  In another few weeks when these plants are full grown you won’t be able to see the ground.  They grow in swampy and river bottom areas, and you can see a little bit of the swamps water in the background of this image.  You can see the low angle sun touching some of the plants.  

I usually walk towards the sun studying the leaves to find the best looking backlighting.

The sun needs to be at a low angle to get good backlighting on the leaves. Below, processing  was done first with the Solarization filter in Nik Color Efex Pro, and then some fine tuning in Nik Viveza 2.

The more deeply furrowed the leaf is the more highlights and shadows you get.  I shot this at f/32 for full depth of field.

Here is a horizontal version:


This is a May Apple leaf and they typically are not at an angle that catches the sun for backlighting, but this one had the right tilt that offered this view.

Backlighting really makes the veins pop in these leaves, so give it a try next time you’re out in the early morning or late evening sunlight.

You can visit Mike's blog and learn about his workshops here:  Tiny Landscapes

Mike's eBooks are available in the OPG store here:  Mike Moats



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