The first of the cold fronts have swept across southern Africa, prompting me to once again, write about light- and of course how it affects a Photographic Safari.
As the dry season approaches, all the vegetation loses its green colour and browns become a predominant part of the landscape. However, this does not affect the light- or the quality thereof. The quality of the light is caused by atmospheric dust.
As the landscape dries off, so more dust is kicked up into the atmosphere. This dust lies close to the earths surface and the important part: it filters out the green and blue wave lengths (shorter wavelengths) and only red comes through, leaving us with the classic soft and warm colours of the dry season.
Now we know why cities with serious pollution issues have the beautifully red sunsets: all the pollution filters out the light! So pollution is good for one thing…
The dusty conditions of the dry season mean you can photograph into the sun.
And how does this affect Photography? Well, in the dry season, the sun sets as a red orb, allowing you to photograph into the sun, and use it as a part of the image. Also, the soft warm colours work very well against the backdrop of soft browns and yellows- all colours that compliment each other. Photographing here is beautiful mixture of pastel browns. It makes for very effective and striking photos.
The rainy season though, is another matter. Rain washes the atmosphere clean of the dust and thus all the light rays can reach us, the photographers. This means that the soft colours are gone, replaced by a stronger, more direct light. How does this affect photography? Well, due to the vegetation being nice and green, this season actually works quite well, as the greens reflect the direct light quite well. Clear skies, or skies with large thunderclouds also lend a dramatic air to images, so making this season an excellent time for Landscape Photography.
The dry browns yellows of the dry season (combined with frost) make for a great background to subjects when photographing.
I hope this explains a bit more about our seasonal variations and how both of them are actually good seasons for Photography and a Photo Safari!
Have a look at our photo workshops to see where and in what season we are out and about photographing.
Good wet season light, clouds and rainbows make elephants stand out that much more in amongst the green vegetation.