Old 05-28-2010, 10:14 PM   #1
pderekh
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Default What's High Sun?

The question was asked in the Ephemeris thread, what's high sun? So, what eleveation of the sun constitues high sun? Since one can shoot midday in the winter without shadows, I submit it's about 40 degrees. other thoughts?
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:24 PM   #2
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I'd say when you look at a telephone pole and the shadow is about 1/3 of its actual height. That's just my take though ...
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:59 AM   #3
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I'd say when you look at a telephone pole and the shadow is about 1/3 of its actual height. That's just my take though ...
That would be 60 degrees. I've read (usually here) that a good "rule of thumb" is that your shadow should be longer than you are tall (<46 degrees).

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Old 05-29-2010, 01:43 AM   #4
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High sun is shadow position and darkness combined with light quality and color. The blue light spectrum is a big part of high sun. After a good storm the next few day are followed by clear air which allows other colors of the light spectrum to pass which makes a much better quality of light. Then all you need to do is work the shadows in a pleasing composition, if possible.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by pderekh View Post
Since one can shoot midday in the winter without shadows...
Certainly not in THIS part of the world. Or am I misunderstanding your point?
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:59 PM   #6
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For me I been nailed with high sun even when the sun angle is low. A head on shot with the sun on the nose of the train but the trucks and side details in the shadow has gotten me high sun even though the sun was not high. I initially did not get that but I sorted out it really has nothing to do where the sun is. It has everything to do with how the train is lit up.
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:05 PM   #7
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Certainly not in THIS part of the world. Or am I misunderstanding your point?
I may not be explaining myself well. Take for example this shot at about noon in December
Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 306932
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann


The sun was about 23 degrees above the horizon

and this one at about 2:00
Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 321419
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann

the sun was 54 degrees above the horizon. In this one the shadows are much more prominent. I actually thought this would be rejected for high sun. The shadow from the coupler goes much lower on the plow and the shadow from the anti-climber goes below the coupler
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:32 AM   #8
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Neither of those are really high sun, the second one is borderline since the trucks are lit but that consist got the shot in.
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:24 PM   #9
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but, shoot the first one same time of day at this time of the year and it will be. And the second one shows where the border is. With an uninteresting roster, 54 degrees would probably be too high
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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It's all dependent on the composition, and color though. The less dependent on the train that the scene is, the more leeway is given. If you're shooting 3/4's all day, then I'd say 60 degrees would be the cut off. If you're working with a better composition, and can keep the color from falling flat, then I wouldn't worry about it.

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Old 05-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
It's all dependent on the composition, and color though. The less dependent on the train that the scene is, the more leeway is given. If you're shooting 3/4's all day, then I'd say 60 degrees would be the cut off. If you're working with a better composition, and can keep the color from falling flat, then I wouldn't worry about it.

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Exactly, there's still a "cutoff" where better coposition needs to come in. If you can't get better compostion, then it's time to go home(unless you're shootinng for personal reasons). Interesting though, about the light color that you and Travis mentioned. What is the color of that harsh light? i.e. sun is high in the sky, no clouds to filter and soften the light...
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:30 PM   #12
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What is the color of that harsh light? i.e. sun is high in the sky, no clouds to filter and soften the light...
I don't think the harshness is a color issue, although it does affect color. I think it is a contrast and tonality issue. One that cannot be processed away.

I suspect that it has to do with a "micro" contrast issue, the relationship between dark and light areas at a narrow level, as opposed to broad relationships of the sort that can be adjusted with the contrast slider in software. That is a speculation.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pderekh View Post
The question was asked in the Ephemeris thread, what's high sun? So, what eleveation of the sun constitues high sun? Since one can shoot midday in the winter without shadows, I submit it's about 40 degrees. other thoughts?
I call it, when the shadow from the "modern" anti climber,extends down to the coupler bar. Also another is when the shadows from the flared radiators of a ACe are visible on the long hood. If it it not a artsy fartsy, anything with the sun past 45 is high sun. I receive best results from sun lower than 45 on 3/4 shots.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:52 PM   #14
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Certainly not in THIS part of the world. Or am I misunderstanding your point?
I had to think on this a little Jim. In the winter months on many if not all North -South lines. One can pretty much shoot South bounds all day. Instead of the sun being dead overhead,as it is in the summer. The sun is further South. Here is a shot from the last weeks of all day shooting here on the KCS . Many look forward to the long summer days, but I often think they do not realize the added hours are lost by added hours of "dead light" or sun dead over head. In post #13 of this thread. I wrote of the anti climber shadow touching the coupler bar. This is a good example. To off set the high winter sun, I set up on a section of track with a Southwest alignment. Two weeks later,due to the sun shifting North,this mid day shot for the season was done.

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Old 05-31-2010, 08:13 PM   #15
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This is high sun and why you don't want to normally shoot at this time of day, Deep shadows all over. LOL
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:00 PM   #16
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I had to think on this a little Jim. In the winter months on many if not all North -South lines. One can pretty much shoot South bounds all day.
Yeah, I misinterpreted what he said. When he said "without shadows," my first line of thought was "no, in the winter months the shadows are the longest, while in the summer months they are the shortest, with the sun pointing nearly straight down." After reading his reply, I realize that's not what he meant.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:12 AM   #17
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Just noted your signature...LMAO!!!
Yeah, I thought it was a good one. Wheels on Steel is another (elite) railway forum in Australia who tends to degrade most rail enthusiasts. As the quote suggests, I am not welcome there because I have had a fight the one of the members (not even an administrator) in the real world over defacing railway property and taking up a great employment opportunity over going on a railfanning trip back in 2005. It's easy to get around, just use another name ...

Back on topic though, scores of photographs taken during high sun, on cloudy days, with foreground clutter or part of the train chopped off get a resounding appluase at Wheels on Steel. The (truthful) culture here would be a shock to many rail enthusiasts in Australia.

At this time of year, there isn't too much high sun to be found. I think you could even get away with photographing at 11:00 and 13:00. In summer is a vastly different story!
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