Wintertide
Wintertide

Any artist who has more than a passing interest in the landscape will at some point succumb to the allure of the “golden hour” doctrine. It is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset.

It is true that light can have sublime qualities at sunrise and sunset. At these times light is directional, yet soft and warm. This is an easy truth that ignores the changing quality of light on the landscape as time and weather wash over it.

On this broader canvas the arc of the sun is a continuum that paints all day and all year. Why should I limit my vision to one or two brush strokes?

Similarly, the idea of a painter arriving and painting in plein air is a romantic notion, at best. It is more usual for painters to study their subject in some detail before putting a brush to canvas.

My presence, observation and knowledge does more to improve my odds of capturing nature’s beauty, than being present at a particular hour. Inspiration does not follow a schedule and art should not be predictable.

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.”

Ansel Adams