Perceived Wisdom

If you do landscapes and scenics then the best times to take photos are the golden hours, the "hours" (in reality these "hours" are variable depending on your location and the time of year) just after sun rise and just before sun set, right? So is this perceived wisdom always correct?

Well back in the old days of using colour reversal film aka slide film like Fuji Velvia for example then yes this old guideline was still relevant, as these films had very limited exposure latitude, five stops of dynamic range and very high contrast that lent themselves to being used in low key light like in the golden hours.

However, enter Kodak Portra 400 a colour negative film which has high exposure latitude with around six stops of over and three stops of under exposure. Out of interest it can be overexposed by up to ten stops and still retain detail in the highlights as my own testing verifies. It also has an insane 17 stops of dynamic range. With it you can happily wander out in the midday sun and produce fabulous high through low key scenics and landscapes.

So is the perceived wisdom always correct? Well that would be a 'no' then. As always, though, you have to know what you are doing and use the right medium i.e. Portra 400, there's nothing like it. I must admit I have developed a taste for high key photos taken in the hours around the midday sun, it means in summer I don't have to get up super early any more, though it is still a time to make great photographs with this film too as you might imagine. Gotta love Portra 400.