Shooting in the Blue Hour

Image of DeSoto Falls during the blue hour captured by Toby Gant

Image of DeSoto Falls during the blue hour captured by Toby Gant

The “blue hour” of photography is the period of time that occurs every morning and evening when we are between daylight and darkness. (Known as twilight.) I shoot frequently in State and National parks and most do not open their gates to the public until the sun is well into the sky. This makes the blue hour and usually the “golden hour” impossible to shoot. And it’s unfortunate for those of us that are outdoor photographers to miss the best hours of light each day. So, what’s the solution? Well, you can try to make arrangements with the park office to shoot during those hours or simply stay the night. Most parks have camping facilities and some larger parks even have lodges on site.

In the case of this image, I took my kids camping. We woke about an hour and a half before sunrise. We ate a simple breakfast and trekked in the darkness to the falls. We found ourselves at the falls just at the start of the blue hour and had a great time capturing images. One main advantage other than the incredible light during this period of the day is that you will find you have more privacy. Even though the campground was full, we had the falls to ourselves. We didn’t see another person until we arrived back at camp.

This image was captured using my 16-35mm f/4 tripod mounted using a circular polarizer. There was so little light that I could not gain critical focus using my headlamp. I had to use the distance scale on my lens to estimate focus. (I was dead on in all my captures that morning.) This particular image was a 25 second exposure at f/16, ISO 200. Needless to say, a sturdy tripod is a must. Another advantage to shooting this time of day is that there is usually no wind. This gives you sharp detail even with long exposures. Notice even the foliage is sharp and shows no signs of movement over such a long period of time.

Thanks as always for stopping by. Happy Easter.

 

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