Good light is a key ingredient for urban landscapes just as it is for most photographic genres. Visit the areas of interest at various times of the day to understand how they change. Early mornings, particularly the couple of hours after dawn, are often rewarding because the light is soft, warm and diffused, and the streets are relatively quiet. This absence of people allows the photographer to focus images almost exclusively on the structure of the city environment rather than the activity within the streets.
City streets often have a quite different, lonely feel at this pleasant time of day. As time moves on and commuters and business people head for work, the volume of traffic increases exponentially and the atmosphere changes completely. During the harsh light of midday, the shops are all busy trading, and shoppers and families fill the streets. Later, as the sun sets and people head home, the feeling changes again. After dark, young people and revellers fill the streets to provide yet another more lively but completely different atmosphere.
Most cities incorporate striking contrasts in architectural styles, modern glass and steel buildings soaring above older and more traditional structures. In the hours following sunrise and preceding sunset it s possible to capture wonderful moments when orange light reflects for skyscrapers, fills concrete canyons or rims a skyline with gold. Wet streets may be particularly rewarding because reflections amplify the striking lighting effects. Even in pouring rain, during the day or the night, reflections of people or coloured lights add real atmosphere to images.