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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Golden Hour

Ever wonder why some night pictures have a cool looking blue sky to them? That’s because they are taken during the golden hour. This is the hour surrounding sunset. There are three stages of the golden hour.

1) Right before sunset

This is when you can get some spectacular colors that normally aren't seen.  Gold, red, and orange lights illuminate your subject and electrify the sky. The light is cast on other objects and can produce some beautiful color contrasts in pictures.  Its also a great time to take pictures of people, the warmth from the sunset warms up their skin and makes them glow.

2) Right when the sun dips below the horizon

This is a rare moment when the sky is lit up with vibrant colors and the foreground is not washed out.  Shooting during this time period also yields less contrast because the sky is roughly as light as the foreground. This is useful because it allows you to capture all the light that is present in the scene.  This type of lighting does not cast harsh shadows and is great for providing a naturally diffused, colorful light to your subject.

3) After the sunset

For the next thirty minutes you can grab some beautiful deep blue skies. I particularly love shooting city scenes at this time because of the beautiful contrast between the yellow street lamps and deep blue sky. Make sure you have a tripod handy at this time as your exposure lengths will be growing rapidly. 

There you have it! Remember to bring a tripod and go out and shoot during the golden hour. You will come back with some amazing results saturated with unique colors.

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