Summer Sunlight

The arrival of summer means plenty of sunshine for outdoor photography in New England. Catching the sunrise takes an early bird these days, while 8:30PM sunsets offer ample time to prepare for those golden hour shoots. Right now Vermont and New Hampshire are receiving an impressive fifteen and a half hours of potential sunshine which is more than enough reason for me to get outdoors with my camera.

Being partial to the soft low angle light at dawn and dusk, I try to plan my camera time accordingly. It’s no secret to photographers that the first and last hours of daylight are the most desirable times to shoot. I took this thistle photo just before sunset on Tucker Mountain in Newbury, Vermont last summer.

The shot wouldn’t have been very interesting without the warm shafts of light filtered through the trees. I went up the mountain with the intention of taking a scenic sunset photo, but found myself more interested in botanical close-ups thanks to the flattering light. I achieved this look by aiming directly into the sun with a large aperture and fast shutter speed. This created a nice rim light making the thistle glow and stand out in the scene.

Another option is to light your subject head-on. I stumbled upon this fawn in the morning as I stepped out of the woods and into an open field. I came out right on top of this youngster, and he immediately pranced off into some thick brush. After just a few minutes he mustered up a little courage and stepped back out into the grass.

I was crouched down with my camera snapping photos as the fawn grew curious and walked right up to me. This kind of encounter certainly doesn’t happen every day, and I was glad to be sporting my 70-200mm 2.8 IS. It’s pretty rare that I find myself zooming out when shooting wildlife with this lens!

Knowing exactly when to plan your shoot is very helpful. Websites like are a good resource  to assist you with this. Golden-hour automatically finds your location and tells you the length of the day, sunrise, sunset, and of course when the golden hours begin.

This is usually the best time to shoot anything from wildlife, to portraits but it doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy photography during the afternoon. I snapped this cedar waxwing shot in the middle of the day on open water in Pittsburg NH. In order to freeze this guy in flight and still get a detailed look at his “wax dipped” wing feathers I had to use a very fast shutter speed. This wasn’t a problem for my Canon 60D at 100 ISO thanks to plenty of summer sunlight that day.

23 responses

  1. The second picture is my favourite! Sooooo sweet!

    June 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  2. What a fantastic photos … that little bird takes up the whole photo … and the movements in his wings.The little deer so delicate and it’s like if I put out my hand I can touch how soft he is. You’re so talent, Chris …

    June 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    • Thanks Viveka, that fawn was a precious little guy!

      June 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  3. Beautiful shots!

    June 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    • Thanks for saying so Nathan, and also for stopping by. :)

      June 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  4. The Jagged Man

    Chris, I am glad you stopped by my blog because if you had not I would not have found yours. Great resources and settings that I need preserved. Keep up the great work.
    I love the one of the fawn because it reminds med of a time I rescued a doe that had gotten trapped on a high fence. Just being that close must have made your heart sign I know it did mine.

    June 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    • As am I Jagged man. I appreciate your comments and am always delighted when a photo evokes a memory in someone. Encountering that fawn was a very special experience for me! Thanks for stopping by. :)

      June 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm

  5. Nicole P.

    Gorgeous! Cedar Waxwings are lovely birds and bi-annual visitors where I live, thanks to a neighbor’s mulberry tree and a pyracantha in our front yard.

    June 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

  6. These are lovely!

    June 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

  7. The image of the fawn is my favorite. You captured the stillness of that moment beautifully.

    June 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  8. Such lovely photos and the shooting tips are much appreciated.

    June 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  9. Stefania

    Chris, always lovely! I wish you a wonderful Sunday!

    June 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  10. Bill Farr

    Great stuff! Very nice golden-hour shooting tip with the thistle. The Tucker Mountain mention brings back memories…

    June 24, 2012 at 1:34 am

  11. May you always be blessed to capture such wonderful photos that require just that right moment!
    The flower photo is absolutely inspiring – the sun rays flooding just at the perfect angle that seem like God touching the flower.
    And BAMBI!! So sweet, so docile – the emotion of being one with nature captured!
    And of course the bird, the blessed precise moment ~ perfect photo composition :D

    June 24, 2012 at 2:16 am

  12. Lovely images! It really is a magical time of day for photography. I was out photographing wildflowers in that golden evening light yesterday. Only recently found your blog, but am really enjoying reading it. Look forward to more.

    June 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    • Thanks Shell, I’m very glad you found us and appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping in. :)

      June 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

  13. snowbirdpress

    Great Shots. This morning I went to photo the morning sunlight and when I got to the daylilies a hummingbird flew into my viewfinder. By the time I clicked the button, it had alreayd left for another clump of flowers… so I understand just how quick these must have been.

    June 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  14. …love your work… how I’d love to join you for an early morning shoot!!! g*

    June 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  15. The deer looks so inquisitive with its ears all alert!

    June 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

  16. Beautiful photos, Chris. Really enjoyed them, made my morning. Jay

    June 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

  17. Patience provides you with excellent photos. Each one unique.

    June 26, 2012 at 11:44 am

  18. I have been following your blog for a while and really enjoy reading it. That’s why I’d like to nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award. For the rules of accepting the award, check out my blog post: or Congrats!

    July 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

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