Timing Makes All The Difference

Comparison of two images of wildflowers and South Caineville Mesa by Utah landscape photographer Adam Barker.

Comparison of two images of wildflowers and South Caineville Mesa by Utah landscape photographer Adam Barker.

Timing really can make all the difference. Shooting at different times means shooting different light. And different light can give nearly the same image an entirely different feel.

Case in point is this study from my recent trip down to Caineville, UT. These two (nearly identical) images were shot just 13 minutes apart. As you can see, the image on the left still has direct light on the FG flowers. Due to the bluffs to the west, it was impossible to catch the last rays of light on the flowers themselves. This direct light is a bit hot for my taste, but it does accentuate the rows of flowers, and give the FG more of an elongated feel.

The image on the right showcases the flowers in open shade, and succulent late light on South Caineville Mesa. The open shade on the FG gives the viewer access to every last detail, and renders the colors softer and more luminescent. It doesn’t, however, showcase the leading lines of the flower rows.

This truly is the beauty of still photography. And this, really, is how you can go about defining your personal style and your preference to the types of images you’d like to capture. Study the subtle (or not so subtle) difference between images. Are you willing to sacrifice some of the detail in the FG flowers for the compositional definition, or do you prefer the soft tones and colors instead of the open shade? If you had to choose between displaying one or the other of these images, which would it be–and why?

Shot with Canon 5D MkII, 24MM TS-E 3.5II, Singh Ray LB ColorCombo Polarizer, Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse ND Grad

5 thoughts on “Timing Makes All The Difference

  1. Great illustration Adam. I like them both but think I prefer the open shade rendition for a couple of reasons; nice soft light and saturated colors of the flowers combined with the warmer light on the mesa, plus the lack of contrail in the sky (assuming that’s what it is). Great work and can’t wait to see your OP cover!

  2. I really want to like the one on the left more but the one on the right is overall a better image. The sky on the left is very distracting. I think I would like it with a more open sky like the one on the left. Doesn’t have to do with the contrail, just feels too full. I also like the clarity of the one on the right. It feels like a more cohesive image than the other because of the lack of harsh shadowing. There is a better flow from foreground to background. I don’t think you lose much depth in the mesa on the right hand image but you lose some depth in the flowers. This is a bit of a drawback but the clarity of the image from bottom to top more than makes up for it.

    This is a great study in timing in photography. Thanks for letting us see it.

  3. Wonderful post! The clarity of the flowers on the left is attractive to me, but I like the image on the right more…mostly because it has less distracting shadows and punchier colors on the distant hills. I also believe it would benefit, however, from little more sky.

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