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Best use of light

Don’t be left in the dark or ruin a shot with shadows or too much sun. Making the best use of the light available could transform your shot into a perfect photo.

Certain times of day or year offer special photo opportunities if you are prepared to make an effort and plan ahead. Early morning is the perfect time to capture morning dew, mists and long shadows for example, and noon is a good time for capturing great shots of wildlife.

Plan an early evening trip out and snap stunning sunsets, silhouettes and long shadows with a warm glow. Night time is the time to experiment with long exposures, moonlight and trying to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Seasons in the sun

Spring is perfect to snap an atmospheric, misty shot early in the morning. Low angled evening light can create dramatic shadows and rich colours and be ready for a burst of young, green leaves and bright flowers – especially the iconic woodland bluebell.

Summer is a lovely time to show people enjoying the woods and the countryside and gives a flattering light for portraits. Bright light, dappled shade and vibrant colours can all help you create some stunning shots.

Capture reds and golds of turning leaves, fungi and misty mornings during autumn.

The bare branches of winter trees create dramatic shapes and shadows while frost, snow and ice make for magical images and there is also lots of winter wildlife to be spotted – such as the robin.

Whatever the weather

There are many qualities and angles of light the photographer can take advantage of and using a particular light can bring out the best in certain subjects.

Strong, direct, light is good for open areas and makes high contrast images.

Backlighting can create a moody image and overcast conditions can be a blessing for a photographer as the contrast between light and shade will be reduced. You might want to try cropping out any white sky.

Soft, direct sunlight allows the camera’s sensor to record areas of detail in shadows and brings a warmer feel.

Rain will clear the air helping the clarity of your final image and also bring out the colours in the natural surroundings. But be careful to keep droplets off your lens.

Breezes – wait for cloud cover to clear and your subject to be illuminated.

Cool colours

Look for the differences in your surroundings. A wood may seem like a mass of green and brown initially, but look closer and you will see different shades of greens, yellows and gold.

Colour in the sky can add to the drama of your image, and butterflies and insects can provide a quick flash of colour and pattern. Flowers provide a myriad of different shades and berries, fungi and fruit can add a shot of colour in an otherwise dull shot.

Look closely at tree bark which can vary hugely in colour and texture.