For this exercise, I took several photographs of an office building near where I work. The pictures were taken over two days, both of which were sunny. Here is a set representing the best pictures from various times of the day.
|Early morning light, with the sun still rising and directly hitting just part of the building, with many other parts receiving limited light and being partially in shadow. Light has a warm glow, it is intense but not particularly harsh.
The low position of the sun creates an area of focus in part of the building which is quite pleasant, giving something for the eye to rest after surveying the frame. Elsewhere, the light reflected from the sky gives a subtle fill which allow the viewer to have a good idea of the shapes without these becoming overpowering.
|Just after midday, the light reaches directly many parts of the building. Being winter, the light is still lateral rather than coming from above, but is significantly less warm than in the early morning shot.
Overall, the midday light, even during winter, lack a clear sense of direction and does not create the areas of focus we saw in the early morning shot. It is an intense, honest ilumination that makes the whole subject stand out against the background blue sky, but does so at the cost of excesive contrast, particularly in the front side of the building, and perhaps lack of pictorial interest.
|Late afternoon shot, with warm, soft light illuminating the side of the building from a relatively low angle. The light is more subtle than in the early morning shot, both in warmth and intensity, but fills a greater portion of the frame. Contrast is lower than in the mid day shot, but still more marked than in the early morning shot.
The glow here is subtle and too disperse. The light has now entered at such an angle that is iluminating not only the main subject but also some of the adjecent structures, creating a bit of a distraction, rather than the clear, intense focus provided by the patch of warm light in the early morning shot.
|This shot was taken right after sun set, with the illumination mostly coming from the reflection of the sun in the sky. The light is noticeable colder than in previous cases and there is less contrast in the building.
The low intensity and relative coldness of the natural light here accentuates the contribution of the artificial light elements (which are present but less noticeable in the other shots) to the overall aestetics of the image. The light conditions also make the viewer more concious of the border features of the main subject, particularly the details of the roof which has an intresting crown-like shape that is less noticeable under the harsh midday light.
When considering the subject and how it is illuminated, out of the four shots my favourite is the early morning one. The reflected light from the sky creates enought detail in the shadows for us to have a clear idea of the main shapes, while the warm, direct sun patch of light makes the subject stand out without significantly overpowering it.