Last week I was hanging out in Berkeley, California filming an introductory photography video with Peachpit, and I photographed these sailboats at the Berkeley Marina to show an example of the difference between golden hour light and harsh, mid-day sun. In this example I photographed the boats at sunrise (7:30 AM) and the middle of the day when the sun was pretty high (1:30 PM).

For the sunrise photo (on the left) I got some really great images before the sun was peeking over the horizon, but the best photo (in my opinion) was when the sun was just barely in the sky and back-lit the masts of the boats. Overall the light is really soft and has a lot more subtle color. I also love how glassy the water is … the light reflected off it beautifully.

For the mid-day sun photo (on the right) you can see that the image is much brighter, but the light is jus really flat and the water doesn’t look as pretty. The image isn’t bad, but there’s nothing really very special about it. It’s the light in the first image that really “makes” the photo.

I have to say, this was really fun to do. It’s great seeing the contrasts between the light and scenery at different times of day. If you’re planning to do some landscape or outdoors photography in the near future, try this out for yourself. Photograph one image in the mid-day sun, and then re-photograph the same scene (composed as closely as possible to the first) at sunrise or sunset, or whenever the light is at its best. And then, when you do, link to it here so I can take a look!