Harsh Light versus Soft Light

While going through this years crop of photos from Maine, I came across these two of basically the same scene.  The first was taken in harsh mid-day sun (2:30 in early July), while the second was taken toward the end of the day (4:30 in October).  The light was much lower in the sky for the second image, and there was cloud cover to diffuse the light. 

The first shot has more of a blue color cast to it, while the second has more amber.  The harshness of the light in the first shot is made obvious by the dark shadows on the ramp and the very bright, perhaps even overexposed, areas such as the ramp itself.

One advantage of the second image is that it is much easier for the camera's sensor to capture the different tones when the light is softer and more diffused. There are lots of mid-tones with not too much in the way of very dark or very light areas.  Conversely, in harsh light it is very easy to have areas of both overexposure and underexposure.

Which is better?  I think the second image is helped by the clouds in the distance.  But even without the clouds I think I prefer the second image.  YMMV.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, the 2nd image is much better, especially the tone of it.