An easy trick to capture the shot others missed

Cornish Bay Dusk

• Cornish Bay Dusk • (Best viewed large – click image)
Before sun-up and after sun down the wonderful light begs to be photographed.
• Cornish Bay Dusk • By Netkonnexion on Flickr

When is the best time to photograph?

There are as many answers to that as there are reasons to take a picture. But we all know how wonderful the golden hour is for photography. Here is another idea for a time many people forget.

A few moments longer

Most days, when the sky is clear, there is some wonderful golden light as the sun wants to dip below the horizon. The so called golden hour is a great time to take photographs. The shadows are long, giving clear definition to the landscape. The colour of the light is enhanced by the golden glow of the sun. The graduation of light across the sky provides a softness that is rare at other times.

If you are on location for that great light that every photographer loves, consider this. Be prepared to wait a little after the other photographers have gone home. A lot of photographers don’t realise, but about five to ten minutes after sun down there is some wonderful light.

After the sun has set below the horizon there is a period of blueness. There is still sufficient light in the sky for a photograph. There is usually the vestiges of the pink or gold glow too. But the blueness is deep and beautifully toned across the sky. It is a perfect time to capture photographs that make silhouettes look great and the last vestiges of the light look magnificent.

Of course you will find it difficult to work with auto-settings. Your camera is programmed to prevent this sort of light – it sees it as underexposed. Work in one of the manual settings. You will find that you need to use longer exposures. Then you are able to capture detail. Don’t put the ISO up high or you will just create digital noise. Make sure you have a tripod on hand too, or you will get movement blur. Other than that concentrate on the wonderful light and the great tones that are created right across the landscape.

As with all location shoots, scout in advance. Think through what you want to capture. The deep tones and dark silhouettes are not necessarily going to be ideal for all shots, especially if looking at darker backgrounds. However, you cannot go too wrong working with the West facing shot that sees the last of the sun as it goes down.

After all the other photographers go home you will be getting the shots that they will envy. And, all you did was wait another ten minutes.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

4 responses to “An easy trick to capture the shot others missed

  1. Damon (Editor)

    Yes, I am a fan too. It is a great time for urban shots – as you say, it covers the lights so they don’t blow out. This is really useful for many different types of shot.
    Thanks for your feedback.

  2. I’m a huge fan of that magic moment when the sun has just gone down and the Klein Blue is rich and vibrant across the sky the lights are hot but not blow outs and your pics are almost too saturated in camera……

  3. Damon (Editor)

    Cool shot. Yes, its true. The whole blue light time is relative to the thing you want to photograph!

  4. or in the case of Holiday lights get there a few min earlier

    http://flic.kr/p/dxRye9