My favorite type of light to work with is soft, even light. This is usually found during cloudy days or during golden hour (about an hour before sunrise or before sunset). On my way across the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper, I looked over to my left and saw this lake with a massive peak hovering over it, which created a beautiful reflection. The weather was perfect – the the clouds provided a soft light on the whole scene and there was practically no wind, which meant the timing couldn’t have been better.
The mountain was dusted with snow but the lake had completely thawed so you could see the mountain’s reflection in it. Without hesitation I hit the brakes and pulled over. We lost our minds at how spectacular the view was — the most gorgeous color you could think of for a lake in the mountains — before all hopping out to start shooting. When it’s overcast it’s easier to expose for the whole scene, which results in the landscape’s size coming across more impressively.
Direct sunlight provides a hard light, which results in greater contrast and much larger shadows. This can work for dramatic portraits or architecture, but it won’t work for reflections and details because when the light is harsh, you lose a lot of those details. Uneven lighting makes it hard to expose for the whole image, which can make depth hard to demonstrate. That being said, shadows and sunbeams can add a layer of depth to an image so practice shooting in every kind of light!