You realize these images that look snapshots of a reminiscence as an alternative of an precise individual or place? Those that appear to glow, and all the pieces in them appears rimmed with a halo of sunshine? Those with beautiful flares of sunshine that seem like the topic’s soul is exploding out of them and mud clouds that seem like magic suspended in air? Properly, more often than not that wasn’t simply coincidence – these images have been taken throughout what’s generally often known as the golden hour, also referred to as the magic hour.

“Hour” is figurative right here. The golden hour refers to the interval simply after dawn or simply earlier than sundown, and its size will depend on the place you’re, what time of yr it’s, and the climate situations. Additionally, whereas the phrases are almost synonymous, golden hour really has a definition based mostly on the measurable angle of the solar to the horizon, whereas magic hour is a broader time period that generally incorporates each the golden hour and the blue hour — one other measurable time based mostly on the solar’s angle to the horizon. On this article, we’ll use them interchangeably. No matter season or location – or what you name it – it’s a particular time for pictures. However why, precisely?

Mild. Mild is crucial photographic ingredient. The sunshine simply after dawn and simply earlier than sundown is not like some other gentle and it might’t be replicated, irrespective of how laborious you strive (properly, you could possibly cheat if in case you have photo-editing software program, nevertheless it doesn’t beat the true factor or really feel as rewarding). There are some things about this type of gentle that make it distinctive and beloved.

What’s the golden hour?

It’s heat

The golden hour is all about gentle. The temperature of the sunshine throughout this time is, because the identify suggests, within the yellow vary relating to the gentle spectrum. With out delving too deeply into your AP Chemistry textboon, gentle has a spectrum of temperatures that correspond to totally different colours of sunshine. Bear in mind ROY G BIV? On one facet of the spectrum you have got high-temperature blue gentle, and on the opposite finish you have got low-temperature pink gentle. Through the golden hour, the temperature is within the yellow vary, which provides the sunshine that coveted, golden hue.

Daylight Kelvin Scale

It’s diffuse

When the solar is close to the horizon, its gentle has to journey via extra ambiance than at different factors within the sky. That ambiance acts as a large diffuser, thus lowering and softening the depth of direct gentle. This creates a extra even gentle, so the distinction in right publicity between your darks and lights is much less, that means it’s far simpler to seize a extra evenly uncovered photograph. It’s as if the entire sky is one large gentle field, solely higher. Moreover, all that ambiance the sunshine has to journey via filters out the blue gentle and makes the sunshine seem extra reddish.

Diffuse sunrise light spreads over this vineyard, lighting the foreground and background without sharp shadows.
Diffuse gentle from the dawn spreads over this winery, lighting the foreground and background with out sharp shadows. Malcolm Carlaw/Flickr

It’s directional

When the solar may be very low within the sky, its angle is extra drastic in relation to the earth, making shadows longer and softer. Having lengthy shadows in your shot helps present all three dimensions of the world if you’re making an attempt to seize them in a two dimensional area. Additionally, as a result of your publicity is extra even, the sky and no matter else is within the background, your center floor, and the foreground can all be clearly outlined and correctly uncovered, which creates a higher sense of depth. You can even use the course of the solar to create particular results and to focus on textural particulars.

The low angle of the sun creates longer shadows, which makes this photo more dimensional.
The low angle of the solar assist when creating longer shadows, which makes this photograph extra dimensional. Rabiem22/Flickr
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