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I own a number of these hardcover National Geographic books, and I love them all for the inspiring photography within their pages. They say photography is all about the light, and there is no better demonstration of that than National Geographic’s Dawn to Dark Photographs: The Magic of Light. It is organized by time of day, with each section showcasing photographs taking advantage of the unique light available in those hours.
Rise early to create photographs at dawn. It’s a time when the world is often still, when the light is soft and full of mystery.
At sunrise we begin to see the texture around us, illuminated by the low angle of the sun. Landscapes take on a warm glow as the sunlight travels through the layers of the atmosphere. People begin to stir and prepare for the day ahead.
Morning is when the colors around us begin coming to life, when long shadows begin moving across the landscape, when we can see the details of the world.
Midday is when many photographers stop shooting, when they feel the light is too harsh, the scenery full of too many contrasts. But no light is bad light, and midday still has the potential of great photography.
Once again shadows lengthen, the light begins to take on a warmer glow. There is still plenty of light to show beautiful colors, but also enough angle to the light to create silhouettes.
Sunset is the last light of the day. We often watch as it sets, sometimes setting off amazing displays of color. It’s a time for quiet reflection of the day we’ve just lived and the one yet to come.
The sun has set but there is still a glow on the horizon, a small bit of light left to photograph with. There may be a warm glow, or a cooler shade of blue. Don’t put away your camera yet.
When the sun sets you need other forms of light to create photographs. These may be natural, such as flashes of lightning or the glow of the moon. Or these may be artificial, such as camera strobes or the lights of a city.
As with the other books in this series, Dawn to Dark Photographs is just over 10 inches square and over 1 inch thick. It is just under 400 pages long and full of photography. Some images span 2 pages, some a single page, and some a page and a half. The photographer, location, and a brief description accompany each photograph. Each section is preceded by a short introduction.
If you are ever in need of inspiration, or just wish to lose yourself in beautiful photography, you may find what you’re looking for in the pages of National Geographic Dawn to Dark Photographs.