5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities of Summer Landscape Photography

Summer is generally regarded as being the most difficult time of year to produce good landscape photographs. But, if you understand the reasons behind this then you can choose your opportunities wisely and still make productive use your time.

The Challenges

1. The Sun is High

High angled sunlight is the bane of a good landscape image. It’s extremely bright, has no colour, and it illuminates the entire scene with uniform lighting. As photographers we crave light that is special. The problem with mid-day summer sun is that it makes everything look boring.

Legitimately one of the best views in all of Scotland. But not in that light!
2. Everything is Green

I have no problem with green. But the difficulty with summer photography is that everything is green. It makes it very difficult to find effective compositions because of the uniformity of colour, contrast and texture.

So green…
3. The Days are SO Long

When the sun rises at 4.30am and doesn’t set until 11.00pm it makes it rather challenging to get out and enjoy the golden hours, with hours and hours of flat light in between.

Boring. So much boring. So long to wait for good light.
4. The Weather is Uninteresting

Landscape photography needs drama, and that means dynamic, changeable weather. A long period of settled high pressure is still lovely to enjoy, but it won’t produce a cornucopia of unique moments.

A nice scene that desperately needs some interesting clouds.
5. Midges

Need I say more? Don’t forget your repellent. Now, enjoy this puppy photo of Scout.

The Opportunities

1. Summit Camps

Spending a night camping on a mountain is one of the best, most adventurous things you can do as a landscape photographer. There’s no better time to give it a go than during a spell of settled weather in summer. The view of surrounding peaks and lochs in the golden hours are unforgettable. And, with a short night, you won’t have to spend that long in the tent.

2. Misty Mornings

There are usually more misty mornings than we realise in summer, if we’re not making the effort to get out and find them. If you do make it out early then you can often find small patches above water or a brief temperature inversion before the sun gets too high. Either way, mist is always magical.

3. The Sunsets Are Incredible

Summer sunsets go on and on, as the sun comes down to the horizon at a slant rather than straight. If you catch it just as a frontal system passes then you can find some really wonderful moments.

4. It’s A Great Time to Explore

I keep banging on about this. Familiarity with the landscape is everything. Treat summer as a rehearsal for winter, if you like. Take that time of nice weather and long days to visit and explore new areas, get to know them, and think about what opportunities might present themselves when autumn and winter come again.

5. Coastal Photography

The landscape may be overwhelmingly green, but the coastline is a riot of colour in summer. Water, rocks, coastal plants, reflections, lichens… it’s all there.

One thought on “5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities of Summer Landscape Photography

  1. So your day has not been wasted! Excellent illustrations of techniques but, as always, the dog one is my favourite.

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