When I am going to photograph a place, I will usually try and photograph it under a variety of lighting conditions. When I arrived at the location about 5pm it was mostly cloudy, but it did appear that there would soon be a hole in the clouds near the horizon for the sun to shine through. It wasn't long after I got set up that the sun did indeed make an appearance. The sunlight made the white cranes really stand out against a mixture of blue sky and gray clouds.
I always try to shoot horizontals and verticals. As the clouds broke and moved by I waited until they would provide a little more balance for a vertical shot. Using my 100-400mm lens I was also able to isolate parts of the big scene for a few of the shots.
If you compare the first image and the last two you can see how much the mood of a scene changes as it goes from sunlight to dusk. There was less than an hour difference between the first and last image shown here. I think the light is great in all of them, but do you prefer one over the other? I would love to here your reasons why.