Twilight phases at Sunrise:
The phases of twilight at sunset are the same just in the opposite order. Let’s begin with sunrise and discuss each phase separately.
The length of twilight before sunrise and after sunset is heavily influenced by the latitude of the observer; therefore I will not discuss the length of each twilight phase since it is highly variable. The first phase of morning twilight is known as astronomical twilight. This period of twilight occurs when the center of the sun is between 12° and 18° degrees below the horizon and slowly increases before day time officially begins.
Most casual observers would consider the entire sky already fully dark even when astronomical twilight is just ending in the morning. Atmospheric colors consist of deep dark blue toward the horizon, and completely black when facing west. Astronomical twilight really brings cityscape photos to life. The deep blue mixed with warm artificial lights from city buildings, streets, and cars produce nice contrasts. Arguably, this is the best time to photograph cityscapes, but this clearly depends what you’re attempting to capture. Images during all twilight phases and during sunrise require a tripod. The photo will be blurry, regardless if your lens has vibration reduction or image stabilization.
Nautical twilight is when the center of the sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon. The primary color cast across the atmosphere is usually a deep blue hue with noticeable orange and yellow tones at the horizon due to the rising sun. Light will begin appearing quickly throughout this phase, and the blue sky will get begin to get brighter and paler. Details will become easier to distinguish but will lack most edge definition. Again, cityscape photographs are nicely produced during this phase. Most landscape photographs will be uninteresting during this phase because there is not enough available light. Silhouettes begin to look interesting, and get better in the next twilight phase.
Civil twilight is the brightest phase of twilight and begins when the geometric center of the sun is 6° below the horizon and ends at 0° sunrise/sunset. The horizon is clearly visible and shadows are easily discernable. Objects are clearly defined and no additional light is needed in most cases. The light cast during this phase can be anywhere from warm golden tones to cool pink tones. During civil twilight, the colors of the sky are going to change quickly. Colors of pale yellow, neon red, and bright orange will dominate the sky. If clouds are present they begin changing colors, first from soft pink then to deep ruby red. When looking westward you can see the twilight wedge, which is a mixture of Earth’s shadow and scattered light. The pink and blue hues of the twilight wedge are separated by multiple layers. Most landscape photos begin coming to life as available light increases and details become obvious.
When the sun finally rises, deep ruby red and dark pink colors splash all over the terrain. Shadows come alive and retain purple and blue hues due to scattered light. The contrasts of red and blue are at a pinnacle, and will arguably provide for the best landscape pictures. The mixture of colors and shadows helps distinguish form, shape, and texture, and these compositional elements should be utilized. The color of light is quickly changing from red to yellow, and you must react very fast if you decide to change composition or frame.
As the sun continues to rise in the sky, colors shift from yellow to white. This is why the first hour of sunrise and sunset is called the “golden hour“, because red light shifts to gold. After the first hour of sunrise the color of light begins turning whiter and is not conducive to most landscape photography. The only circumstances that could create gorgeous photos in midday are during storms when the sun breaks through high clouds illuminating spots of land. Otherwise, forget about taking good landscape pictures – they will not be compelling.
The best time of day to create evocative landscape imagery is during twilight and sunrise/sunset. There are rare exceptions when these “rules” do not apply, which is why if you are seriously considering landscape photography you must be out in the wilderness during these hours. Yes you will miss breakfast and dinner, yes it will be hard waking up very early in the morning, and yes you will be frustrated many times when the photo opportunities are just not there because it’s too cloudy, or no clouds, etc. But who ever said photography was easy?
This stuff is not meant for the meek. As with anything in life you have to really want it. You have to be passionate about taking away a beautiful photo, even though it took many visits to the same spot to get your photo. This stuff can be grueling at times, but for me, the rewards far outweigh the repeated disappointments. I hope this article has helped those seeking to become landscape photographers.
About the Author:
This article was written by Stefan Hofer (stefanhoferphotography.com). A creative photography enthusiast.
Entertainment & Learning for the Photographer
|Photo by Sean Nicholas > Photoshop & Lightroom|
I love a creative portrait. You take a beautiful girl, put her in a costume and special makeup and you now have a beautiful art piece as well. This has been tastefully done to bring out a special feeling of a warrior princess to me. Congratulations Sean on this masterful Portrait. This is a fun portrait, and worthy of “Portrait of the Week”.
|Photo by Todd Wall|
Some people just know how to use all the rules of composition to put together the perfect photo! And Todd has graced this page before and you can see why. The leading lines, the color of the picture, everything about this makes me want to hang it on my wall. Congratulations Todd, for putting together a great masterpiece. And the Title of the picture: “Fall up the Tracks”
To see more of Todd’s pictures, or to shop for some of his art, go to:
|Giulieta Alfa Martina Romeo w/ Roberto Tozzi|
Whoa! This photo just stops and grabs you for a moment. Is that a ??? No, it’s a ? You are right. This is a photo of great still photography and makeup done to perfection. What is still photography done with makeup like this? Magnificent. Anything that will make you stop and stare at it for a moment will be worth the time to realize the time and effort this took to put this photo together. Really. Amazing photo, and time went into this. This had to be worthy of being a “Photo of the Week”
|SUNSET IN FROSTY 🇱🇺 by Milly|
Sometimes the winter and fog can bring us some amazing photos if you look for it. And if you get the timing of the light, and angle just right, you can create an amazing photo from what normally seems like just a ho-hum picture. But, look at how Milly took this opportunity to take a chain link fence and barbed wire fence covered with frost, and waited for the backlight of the sun to create an amazing photo. I know that sometimes patience will often create the best photo. Congratulations to Milly for capturing this photo.
Sometimes I hesitate posting a photo that has “Unknown Photographer”. One time I did that, I had the photographer reach out to me and prove that he was the actual photographer. I was glad to re-post the photo and give them the credit they deserve. This photo is one that truly is just one of those that you can tell just is a piece of art. I don’t know how far it has gone around the internet. To me there are several kinds of people who would love this photo: the horse lover, the winter season lover, and the sunset lovers. All in one photo. What a great picture. So, hopefully, I will re-post this again as the photographer is found.
|Photo by: Claudio Piccoli . Photoshop & Lightroom|
Claudio has such a feel for photographing dogs. Now, I hope you will take a moment and enlarge this or see it on your computer, not just on your cell phone, because you have to see the dog’s eyes. They have such an expression. This just makes this whole photo just priceless. What a great capture of a dog having a good time. Congratulations Claudio for showing us another great photo this week that truly makes us all smile.
Claudio is a well know photographer in taking pictures of dogs and other animals. See more of his work on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.piccoli.photographer/
Or check out his own website: http://www.claudiopiccoli.com/
That is this week’s Photos. Amazing. And I think I could enjoy all of these on my wall. I hope you enjoyed them too. See you next week for more great photos.
Entertainment & Learning for the Photographer
As a photographer, you sometimes worry about how to get a large family photo to fit all in one picture. What if you were commissioned to get the largest family photo ever, to be in one picture? S…