Learn how to photograph in the “BLUE HOUR”

Also known as twilight, Blue Hour refers to that time of the day just after the Golden Hour. Depending on your location, it may be shorter (or longer) than an hour but happens before sunrise or after sunset”

Some photographers have understood this to be as valuable as photos taken during the “Golden Hour”.

The one thing that you need to add to your equipment arsenal is the mighty tripod. A tool every photographer should have. You should realize that the sun has gone down, and this is a harder photo to take because your light has gone down. This is the “BLUE HOUR”.

Photo by Hakan Tahmaz from Pexels

From the pictures you see here, these photos are all landscape photos. So you would use the usual landscape rules. Watch that your horizon line is not down the middle of the photo. Either have more sky if it’s so magical or more foreground if it’s got extra color to add to it.

Photo by KEHN HERMANO from Pexels

A lot of “BLUE HOUR” photos have purple in the colors as well. This is only natural and is a bonus while trying to capture the twilight colors.

If you like to take photos of sunsets, then this should be real fun for you. First take a photo of the sunset, then wait a few minutes and see how the twilight looks. If you have clouds in your sunset, then the “BLUE HOUR” effects will be absolutely amazing.

Notice with this photo, the fog created the “blue hour” beautifully because the sun had set, and the sky reflected the blue into the fog.

Conclusion:

If you notice the clouds in the sky and they produce a beautiful sunset, then just wait till the sun sets, and check out the different types of blue and purple that comes after the sunset. And remember, because the sun has gone down, the tripod will be the thing that saves these amazing photos.

Also, give it time to give you colors. Depending on where you are the “blue Hour” may last up to an hour after the sun goes down.

UNDERSTANDING “LIGHT” IN LANDSCAPES

seashore during nighttime
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Lighting in landscapes is a bit more complicated, and in this blog, I hope to clear up all the details of the different types of lighting, and how we can use the different types of lighting to help our landscape photos.

LIGHTING QUALITY AND DIRECTION

Landscape photographers talk about two essential lighting characteristics: the quality and the direction.

Lighting quality refers to the hardness or softness of the light, where soft light produces limited shadows and saturated colors, while hard light adds lots of contrast and heavy shadows.

And lighting direction refers to the direction at which the light strikes your subject. For instance, noontime sunlight hits the subject from above, evening sunlight hits the subject from the side, etc.

Generally, lighting quality is the bigger deal here. Because while it’s possible to experiment with different directions for beautiful results, if you fail to understand lighting quality, you’ll capture consistently mediocre (or just bad) photos.

At the same time, you should understand how to work with different lighting directions – it’s how you can add depth and dimension to your photos, for one – which is why I dedicate several sections to the topic.

REFLECTED LIGHT

Reflected light, also called bounced or diffused light, occurs when direct sunlight reflects off an adjacent surface. It can make for stunning photos, thanks to its soft, even, beautiful effect.

The canyons in the Southwest are perfect for this type of light, as the sun beams against the rocks and is reflected all around, creating a gorgeous warm glow:

landscape photography lighting Zion

To work with reflected light, you’ll generally need a bright surface such as pale rock walls, a white beach, etc. – otherwise, you’ll fail to get a nice reflection effect. You’ll also need bright sun, ideally toward the middle of the day.

OVERCAST LIGHT

foggy, overcast lighting Morro bay

Light on overcast and foggy days is soft, subdued, and bluish. Shadows are negligible, and light directionality essentially disappears.

While cloudy light can work great for landscape photos, thanks to the flattering, soft effect and lack of harsh shadows, you need to be careful; a cloudy sky tends to look boring, so do what you can to block it out with trees, mountains, and other landscape elements.

Cloudy days are also great for colorful landscape scenes, such as fields of flowers. The soft light evenly illuminates your subject and gives colors a subtle, saturated glow.

BACKLIGHT

Backlight refers to any light that comes from behind your subject, like this:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Note that you can have partial back-lighting, when the sun comes from roughly behind the subject, and you can have total back-lighting, when the sun beams out from directly behind the subject.

Back-lighting is a landscape photography favorite, especially when the sun is just above the horizon. Why? Back-lighting is dramatic, whether it’s combined with HDR effects (such as in the image above), or whether you use it to capture stunning silhouettes.

One tip: Pay careful attention to the position of the sun in your frame. You generally want to partially block the sun with a solid edge; that way, you can capture a beautiful sun-star. Alternatively, you can keep the sun out of the frame or position it behind a solid object, like a tree or a rock, to prevent a blown-out sky.

DIRECT LIGHT

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Direct light is strong, harsh, and very unforgiving; you can generally find it a few hours after sunrise to a few hours before sunset, though as the sun moves higher in the sky (i.e., closer to noon), the light becomes more direct and even less flattering.

Because direct light produces such a harsh effect, some landscape photographers avoid it completely.

MORNING AND EVENING LIGHT (GOLDEN HOURS):

Photo by Ankhurr Chawaak on Unsplash

For most good landscape photographers, this is their favorite time to photograph. The side-lighting from the sun creates such a dramatic effect, and then the warm glow that is created when the sun is at that angle, it just makes for beautiful photos.

OPEN SHADE

Open shade can be classified into two type of shade:

1- Shade caused by a lot of trees, buildings, etc. to create a natural shade. Some lighting may be inserted in this type of photo:

gray asphalt road surrounded by tall trees
Open shade: caused by trees, and buildings, etc. Very little light would be in this photo. ——–Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2- A cloudy day, and everything is under the shade of clouds. May not have any shadows because of this:

Sometimes right after a storm you will still have total cloud cover, no shadows, but, still can be very beautiful.

HUMAN MADE LIGHT:

light trails on highway at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Although, this is a landscape photo, the element of “human-made” lighting is inserted. This is totally a great photo, and the combination of the “man-made” lighting mixed with the ambient light, is a remarkable photo.

CONCLUSION

Now you have had the opportunity to study all the different types of lighting, in landscapes, now, when you go out to take landscape photos, study the light, and see how you can work the light to your advantage.



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