Why? Maybe it has something to do with expectation of a new day or the close of the day that has just passed, but what we know for sure is that a low sun produces a beautiful soft light that is pleasing to our eyes and makes us feel good. The Golden Hour!!
Sometimes also called the Magic Hour, the Golden Hour is what a photographer calls roughly the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset, but the exact duration varies between seasons and also depends on what scene you are trying to shoot. During these times, the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much more flattering than the harsh midday sun that so many of us are used to shooting in.
Light in the Golden Hour produces less contrast, reducing the chances of losing parts of your subject in strong shadows or blown-out highlights. The warm glow adds a pleasing feel to the scene, and the long shadows help to pick out details, adding texture and depth to the image.
In my series of images from Teignmouth Beach you can see how the sun rises and how the light goes from a cold blue light to a gold colour, and at the end, when the sun is high enough in the sky, the light becomes our normal daylight that we are so used to.
I used my Canon 40D Camera on a tripod with a remote shutter release. I chose my Sigma 10-20 wide angle lens and set my camera on Av Priority with f/16 and ISO 100. I planned to bracket the images from -4EV to +4EV. I was ready to go with about 30 minutes to spare before sunrise so I waited for the sun to make its presence known.
You can see in the first couple of shots, when the sun is below the horizon, everything has a very cold (blue) feel to it. As the sun starts coming up you can see how the scene and the mood of the images changes. For each of the images you see, I took 9 bracketed shots that I post-processed through Photomatix 4 software to create these HDR images.
For a bigger slideshow of Golden Hour you can visit the Collection section of my website.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and I would love to hear from you!