March 19, 2014

The blue hour


y son is an outstanding photographer. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up with a mother who is a professional photographer and a father who is an avid photography enthusiast. He’s quite comfortable with the camera—from either side.

My son, the photographer

David learned early on to try out unique angles and to get in close to his photography subjects. Once he saw that looking at things from a unique perspective greatly improves photographs and makes them stand out from other people’s snapshots, he quickly gravitated to extreme angles and macro photography. When all the other tourists at Mt. Vernon were photographing the vegetable garden through the gate in the 10-foot-high wooden fence, David climbed that fence to capture the garden from a very high angle. He came back, not with a photograph of the garden but with a close-up macro shot of the little round painted wooden ball at the top of the fence post. The paint was peeling and the angle of the sun cast wonderful shadows showing the texture of that peeling paint and emphasizing the grain of the wood underneath. He then walked into the garden and laid down on the dirt to get close-up shots from ground level of the tops of the turnips sticking up out of the ground. Later that day he waded through the crowd of tourists who were taking pictures of the historic kitchen and stepped inside the fireplace to take a picture up through the chimney. They were all beautiful shots and no one else got pictures anything like them because no one else decided to climb the fence, lie down in the dirt, or step inside the fireplace behind the tour guide.

Photographs that capture our attention tend to be these types of photographs. They are the photographs taken where and when most other people wouldn’t consider taking them.

Most photography hobbyists take their pictures when the sun is high in the sky, providing bright lighting that makes colors nice and brilliant. And they tend to put their cameras away when it’s foggy or rainy or snowing. They also put their cameras away at twilight because it’s hard to hold the camera still enough in that dim lighting to capture a crisp picture.

Savannah, Georgia - August 21, 2012 - 7:36 PM
Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
24mm focal length
ISO 1600, 1/13th @ f/2.8

And so... it is one of my favorite times to take pictures. Twilight is the time of day, every morning and evening, when it is not full daylight and it is not complete darkness. The sun is below the horizon, but is still lighting the sky. This time period is known as “the blue hour.” And the lighting conditions during this time have been known to photographers as “sweet light” for years. The light is very blue and casts a bluish tint on everything around. The low light level allows for the sky to be rich and deeply saturated rather than overexposed, as it is in most daylight pictures. It is a wonderful time to take pictures.

Savannah, Georgia - August 21, 2012 - 7:23 PM
Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
28mm focal length
ISO 800, 1/25th @ f/3.5

Savannah, Georgia - August 21, 2012 - 7:18 PM
Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
30mm focal length
ISO 800, 1/50th @ f/4.0

Savannah, Georgia - August, 2012 - 7:24 PM
Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
24mm focal length
ISO 800, 1/25th @ f/2.8

No comments:

Post a Comment

No personal attacks. No profanity.

Please keep your comments in good taste. Leave a name so we know who you are. Your comments are welcome, but anonymous flames and sacrilege will be deleted.