Everyone I know talks about shooting at the “Magic hour,” others refer to the “Golden Hour” or others yet say in the morning or at night. Everyone clear?
Have you ever considered (or heard) of the other “Magic hours” for light?
If you have heard of them (or now that you know about them) do you know exactly when and where each phase starts and stops?
Capturing beautiful, and often the “right” light for your shoot is paramount. If you are shooting under natural light it becomes more critical as each phase of these types of light are limited in duration. If you don't know when they start and where to look then you have no shot at capturing the best light.
The golden hour is the time of day where the color of the sky goes from red and orange to yellow or, as its name suggests, golden tones. Lighting during this time is soft, diffused and with little contrast, since the sun is low in the sky.
Blue hour happens when the sky has a deep blue hue with cool color temperatures and saturated colors. At the beginning of the evening and at the end of the morning, a gradient of colors, from blue to orange, can be seen right in the place of sunset and sunrise.
This is an ideal time for city photography as buildings are still lit and streetlights on. It’s also ideal for landscape photography because of the different shades of the sky and color saturation. Don't forget that you can also capture beautiful lunar photography as well.
These are the time intervals happening between night and day, just before sunrise and just after sunset. The sun is still below the horizon, but its light is visible (as it illuminates the upper layers of the atmosphere).
There are apps to help you navigate this however.
For insanely detailed notes on the entire range and tips of what subject matter is best in each phase check out the more detailed post over at our friends at Petapixel.com
Understanding Golden Hour, Blue Hour and Twilights
Wanna be a light hunter? Let’s start with the maths. The following list shows the different light phases depending on the elevation of the sun… Please don’t panic, you can use PhotoPills to comfortably find out when each light phase occurs:
Nighttime (below -18°)
Morning twilights (from -18° to 0°)
Astronomical Twilight (from -18° to -12°)
Nautical Twilight (from -12° to -6°)
Civil twilight (from -6° to 0°)
Morning magic hours
Blue hour (from -6° to -4°)
Golden hour (from -4° to 6°)
Daytime (above 6°)
Evening magic hours
Golden hour (from 6° to -4°)
Blue hour (from -4° to -6°)
Evening twilights (from 0° to -18°)
Civil twilight (from 0° to -6°)
Nautical Twilight (from -6° to -12°)
Astronomical Twilight (from -12° to -18°)
Nighttime (below -18°)
Twilights and magic hours happen in the morning and in the evening, but this doesn’t mean that the same conditions of light are repeated exactly. It will depend not only on the elevation of the sun, but also on weather conditions, pollution, particles in suspension, etc.
Twilights are the time intervals happening between night and day, before sunrise and after sunset. The sun is below the horizon, but its light is visible because it illuminates the upper layers of the atmosphere.
In more mathematical terms, we say that we are in twilight phase when the center of the sun is between -18° (18 degrees below the horizon) and 0° of elevation.
Reach full article on Petapixel “Understanding Golden Hour, Blue Hour and Twilights”
— Anthony Quintano (@AnthonyQuintano) June 12, 2014
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(cover photo credit: snap from Petapixel)