Moravia: photography in any light conditions

The old wisdom of landscape photography praises the sunset and sunrise times. Following that just blindly, you would have a whole day to pass between these two golden hours, oozing around and sipping wine maybe. But there are actually locations, where you can take photos in almost any light during the day - and even drink wine. Southern Moravia in Czech Republic is for sure one of them…

1) The sunrise

When I said you do not need to stick to golden hour, that doesn't mean you shall skip it completely. Unlike sunset, the sunrise takes courage, it needs the effort to get up early. By now you should also know that Southern Moravia is a wine country. So chances are you will face the challenge to wake up at 04:50 after a long wine tasting night…

 Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 70mm | 1/30, f11, ISO 100

Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 70mm | 1/30, f11, ISO 100

2) The morning

The landscape of this region is very pleasant for the eye, so the opportunities to take beautiful photos are countless. You may focus on the smooth waves of the small hills, the wine yards lining up to the horizon, the romantic details like wayside calvary.

The light in the morning is still kind for photography and chances are the cumulus clouds will start to pop up to make the blue sky more interesting.

 Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm | 1/80, f11, ISO 100 | panorama merged in Lightroom

Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm | 1/80, f11, ISO 100 | panorama merged in Lightroom

3) The high noon

The mid day and the harsh light it accompanies are typically not the photographers' favorite time. But I believe that depends on what you want to shoot - and how much you want to break the rules.

 Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 34mm | 1/125, f11, ISO 100

Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 34mm | 1/125, f11, ISO 100

One approach is to take photographs somewhere in shadows. Or to use the hard light to your advantage, as it creates high contrast images. There is always a way how to take great photos in so called difficult light conditions.

4) The afternoon

Southern Moravia is an agricultural region. Besides wine yards, there are fields and pastures. This creates a typical climate during spring and summer. The hot sun heats the darker fields and the humid hot air rises up to form beautiful cumulus clouds. They are typical for the afternoon and the game of light and shadow they create on the landscape is a photographer's dream. Some of them may evolve into storm clouds. Polarizing filter is a must and for the extra drama I recommend to mount a grad filter on your lens. I use the set from Lee Filters, which is easy to put on / off and great quality with no color cast.

 Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 50mm | 1/50, f11, ISO 160 | Lee filters grad

Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 50mm | 1/50, f11, ISO 160 | Lee filters grad

5) The evening

With all those clouds around, chances are a local storm will form somewhere. Take your tripod, grad filters and look for a good spot to capture a dramatic landscape. Just bear your safety in mind: the lighting and even hail may come along!

I was originally looking for a landscape shot with a wayside cross in the foreground, but the approaching thunderstorm changed my mind. I turned the tripod towards it and was lucky enough to capture my first lightings photos.

 Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 28mm | 0.8 sec, f14, ISO 50 | Lee filters grad + ND

Nikon D800 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 28mm | 0.8 sec, f14, ISO 50 | Lee filters grad + ND

The conclusion

There are tips and hints you read in photography books. Things like golden hour, composition rules or the proper exposure. But if the conditions are not exactly by the book, it's your turn to find a way around and look for opportunity to take great pictures. But it's also true that some locations make this easier than the others. And Southern Moravia is a place worth exploring, as the opportunities there are almost endless. And the good local wines come just as a pleasant benefit on top of that!