The colors of nature inspire us in many ways, whether you’re a photographer, a painter, a videographer, or simply an admirer. Dramatic colors evoke dramatic feelings, and it’s hard to imagine someone not being moved by a stunning sunrise or sunset.
As we stand before it, we watch in wonder at the mystery of the colors – what will they be, how will they change, what will they do next? This is especially true during what photographers refer to as the golden hour shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset when the light is diffused, burnished and soft, and the world glows.
Recently I posted about the blue hour and all the reasons it’s my favorite time to shoot landscape photographs. The golden hour would be my second favorite, with its swiftly changing and dramatic colors that have an unusual effect of both slowing and racing. I think it’s rare that something causes such opposite reactions – simultaneously – but the golden hour, especially with sunsets, does that for me.
These big, deep colors in the sunsetting sky are powerful and stirring, and they inspire boldness and racing hearts and minds full of strong thoughts and emotions. And, yet, at the same time these same shades cause us to slow down, take a pause, and quietly acknowledge that nightfall is near and thus the end of another day before we start fresh tomorrow with a new one.
It’s an unlikely dichotomy that instead feels like a harmony of differences.
There are things you can do with your photography during the golden hour that otherwise wouldn’t yield a good result, such as shooting directly into the sun. Ordinarily, doing this would blow out your picture and cause hot spots that are too bright for the rest of it. And while your equipment can compensate for this overexposure, there’s something pure and primal when you can point your camera straight into the brightest face of the sun and unflinchingly shoot.
For afficionados of dusk and twilight, we’ll nine times out of ten shoot the golden hour of sunsets instead of sunrises, although I’ve enjoyed some magnificent early morning ones. However, my favorite is just before and at sunset, and looking at photos from these times I can tell you years later what the colors did on that particular evening, what the air on my skin felt like, and how time both raced and slowed. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of capturing these moments in time!
So, are you a sunrise or a sunset person — and why?? Please share below in the Comment box!