I’ve been asked time and time again the same question, how are your shots so perfect? Well, the funny thing is there not always perfect. On a regular spotting trip, I tend to fill up at least one SD card worth of shots. Most times it’s a 32-gig card but never more than a 64; in reality, the viewer will get a chance of seeing 30% of that shoot.
Most of the other photos get scrapped or I save them for teaching tools down the road. However, there is a secret that I use that anyone else could utilize. It’s the friendly orb in the sky that emits great rays of light to help produce shots that I take. Of course, the time of day is vastly important as to how this lighting is used.
So, in the end, the question is simple. I'm very picky about my conditions, I shoot early in the morning (7-9 am) and late in the evenings (5-7 PM) which is also all depending on the time of year and where the sun sets. You always must remember to have the sun at your back and your subject in front of you. Never take backlit shots unless your sole objective is to capture a silhouetted aircraft. I never shoot during high noon due to the poor lighting conditions, and that’s really for anything. It could be a rare aircraft that will only stop at my airport once; in that case, I’ll leave my gear in the car, grab my phone, and shoot a video.
Everyone may see this differently, but this is just my takeaway on how and why I shoot at certain times. I feel the best results are obtained in the best conditions. Lighting is key, too many clouds are bad, and the time of the season is essential.
If this little article on shooting times helped you out, leave it a thumbs up, and feel free to comment below with your thoughts and experiences with shooting at different times.