The Best Time For Landscape Photography

Getting Started In Landscape Photography

 “When is the best time for landscape photography?”  is one of the questions you sent me over on my Instagram page so here’s my answer

Sunrise And Sunset

“The Golden hour”

The light is generally at its nicest the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. You usually get a more saturated sky and because the sun is lower the shadows not as harsh.
This can work to your advantage as it makes the scenes look more special, it’s a pretty cool experience just watching it so documenting the view is a bonus.

I prefer it when there’s clouds in the sky with a more subtle glow in the sky as I think that usually looks the nicest. Here’s a photo taken from the top of Coniston Old Man looking towards Dow Crag. The sun is starting to set behind Dow crag over the cloud inversion creating a silhouette, you can see the people walking along the horizon.

It’s common sense but remember that once the sun goes down, it goes dark and gets colder. Make sure you are properly prepared with a torch and warm clothing for when that happens. It’s not fair on the mountain rescue if you get stuck for not being prepared.

Walking along Dow Crag Panorama

On a cloudy day

Some days you won’t be able to see much in the clouds so this can sometimes fail but when you do finally get a gap in the clouds the views can be pretty special. If everything lines up and you have a cloudy day with the sun behind you, you may see a Brocken spectre which will add something different to your photos.
I was up on Dow Crag when this happened, I was expecting clear views but the clouds rolled in and there was my silhouette up in the clouds
Watch the video from that walk

Brocken Spectre over Goats water. The Lake District

The middle of the day

You often get told that the middle of the day is not the best time of the day to photograph but that’s not true.  The photos may not be as moody or have the orange skies but that doesn’t mean you don’t get good views. Here’s a photo looking down onto Derwentwater and Keswick taken at 12:01pm. Everything is pretty evenly lit apart from the shadow in the middle left of the photo but it’s difficult to complain about the view

Derwentwater over the heather from Catbells Panorama_

In the rain

It’s not the ideal situation to be out in the rain but fortunately someone invented the coat (Wikipedia says it was Charles Macintosh), you can get covers for your camera or a shower cap from a hotel works in a pinch.

You’re unlikely to get the most inviting photos but they will be moody, if you’re like me and live in England you will need to get used to the rain. This is a photo I got in the Wasdale Valley looking up the valley, if you look closely you might be able to see the pub at the end of the road. Photos on the way to the pub still count.

A moody Wasdale valley. The Lake District

In the middle of the night

This is good for if you have a day job, I used to do a lot of night photography when I was working as a butcher. I was working varied hours, some days started at 7:30 am and some finished at 9:30pm which meant the full day was often “wasted” doing work, that meant my free time was in the night so at least I got some photography done

Here’s a photo from a track up in the Lake District, we got my car stuck on this lane and my car now has some “go faster stripes” down the side courtesy of the car sliding in the mud attempting to turn around further down the track… It was fun, it’ll probably happen again

Here’s my guide to night photography

A+star+lit+track,+The+Lake+District

As you can see there is no perfect time, but there are lots of good ones depending on what you’re after. Fortunately the weather that you would would class as bad is usually good for photos so you don’t need sunny days for your photographs


When’s your favourite time for photography?

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