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.