Sequence viewing > Light & Lighting - Resource - © Lloyd Godman

Light in Photography -   LIGHTING - Sunlight - Effect of Time of day - Dawn Light

Dawn Light

Dawn is the time before the sun has risen - It is a time when there is enough ambient light in the sky for us to see colours. This is often also called twilight. It is a time when the diffused light from the sky during early morning when the sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere. As the sun begins to rise and the light gains in intensity from darkness, we begin to see with greater definition and a wider range of colours. How long the dawn light lasts depends upon your position on the earth and the time of the year. In summer it is longer in winter shorter.



Lake Mungo

As the sun rises it lights up the underside of clouds in the sky. The higher these clouds are in the sky the earlier the light strikes them. The light from these clouds reflects down onto the landscape creating an enchanting diffuse light with no shadows or high lights.


As the sun rises the warm light will often project through a distant gap in the cloud cover and illuminate the underside of clouds with dramatic effect.
If the cloud is over a body of water, like and ocean, or lake the wonderful colour will often reflect the light back down onto the water in an even more dramatic manner.

Once the sun rises higher in the sky to the point where it shines directly on the land the sun has risen and we get a different quality. In this image we can see distinct shadows and highlights forming on the dune - compare this to the top image..


Lloyd Godman, Lake Mungo




Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman










light and lighting source and resource