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02-11-2019, 06:13 AM   #1
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Blue hour photography

I'm starting a series of blue hours photography. In the past, I happened to be at a place in the evening, took photographs and was please by light spark within bluish surroundings, but it was rather luck than intentional. Yesterday, I came to a place with the intention to capture blue hours shots. I arrived too early, then after sunset the light was diminishing but I didn't know when was the right time to get the best blue hour shot. So I've make exposures at different points in time and rotating my pano head between 10 sec. shots, but I wanted to use the interval shooting for stacking images and also at times I tried pixel shifts (MC, and DPS), but instead of stacking the camera took multiple shots and saved them to the card. Finally, among all shots I barely got one keeper, no even framed to render best. The problem was I lost sight on blue hours time, it happened but I messed up with camera mode and then it was too late.

How do I know the right time for a successful blue hour shot that capture perfect blue , not too bright but not too dark either, so that I be have the camera setup ready at the time of the exposure?

02-11-2019, 06:56 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I was out last night.....
Two images, I moved a few feet and a minute or two later....
One came out blue, one didn't.... I have no idea how to do it intentionally.



02-11-2019, 08:39 AM   #3
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Same here, there are so many variables: position of the sun over the horizon, season, cloud cover and reflectivity of the surfaces around you that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the blue hour shots I have.
02-11-2019, 08:52 AM - 5 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
... the right time to get the best blue hour shot. ... capture perfect blue ...
It depends on what you are photographing, the day's weather, and personal preferences. I've gotten good blues when it's technically golden hour while the sun is setting. Other times I've gotten good blues 90 minutes past sunset, when it's technically twilight.

Sunrise blue hour goes from dark to bright. Aim east early in blue hour to get the brightest part of a still-dark sky. Later in blue hour the entire sky will have brightened a bit, so aim west then. Reverse that process for sunset blue hour.

Samples follow.





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As I’m living at nordic hemisphere, we do tend to have longer bluehour, but actually first 15 minutes is most crusial in order to make it. Sometimes for example artificial light will make it more strong in image. Important is also to keep whiteblance in day/sunny. If you let camera or program to do WB, it will look almost like normal scenery, little darker thou. I don’t have images to share now, but when I get on my computer I can try to find some..
6 Days Ago   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Two images, I moved a few feet and a minute or two later....One came out blue, one didn't.... I have no idea how to do it intentionally.
Thank for posting example shots. Yes, it seems the time window for the blue is quite short.

QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Sunrise blue hour goes from dark to bright. Aim east early in blue hour to get the brightest part of a still-dark sky. Later in blue hour the entire sky will have brightened a bit, so aim west then. Reverse that process for sunset blue hour.
True, I noticed after sunset depending on direction relative to the sun there are still big differences of brightness from the line of horizon to illuminated elements of the scene, I remember questioning myself when should the camera be relative to the sunset position because exposure was problematic, the sky is the direction of the sun (after sunset) was too bright to not have shadow underexposed even after sunset, which led me to think that I should still shot with the sunset in my back. But now reading you comment I realize that it depends.

---------- Post added 11-02-19 at 18:48 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by HoutHans Quote
Same here, there are so many variables: position of the sun over the horizon, season, cloud cover and reflectivity of the surfaces around you that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the blue hour shots I have.
The best shot taken yesterday, I can read the time of exposure in the exif, and according to time-and-date.com site , it was the time when the sun was 8 degree below the horizon. But there were clouds.... and the clouds changed how much light fell on the scene, that's for sure.

Today, I have done an experiment, set the intervalometer to start exposure 15 minutes after sunset time, and record one exposure every 2 minutes, 15 times. I will check what was the time of the best blue hour exposure, to have an idea of the time +-2minutes.
6 Days Ago - 3 Likes   #7
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I usually get blue hour shots when either waiting for sunrise or sticking around after sunset but I'm not sure if I have ever gone seeking it specifically (although I probably have at some point when that seemed like my best prospect).
Clouds make a big difference and it may be clouds you can't even see below the horizon that can change how everything looks. So similar to sunsets or sunrises, persistence can pay off because each one can be different. Also, I think the good photography window during blue hour is a lot darker than many realize. This darkness can bring it's own challenges if your landscape elements aren't producing or reflecting any light.
6 Days Ago - 5 Likes   #8
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Here couple of shots







6 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #9
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Here's a couple I got, during blue hour, of the Eiffel Tower from a dinner cruise on the Seine. These were taken about 2 minutes apart as the boat moved down the Seine. They are from a series of about 15 that I got by chance. No planning for this, the cruise boat just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I doubt very much that I could ever have planned this as well as it turned out by chance! Taken in 2009 with my K10D and a FA 28-80mm lens.
Attached Images
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PENTAX K10D  Photo 
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PENTAX K10D  Photo 

Last edited by subsea; 6 Days Ago at 01:47 PM.
6 Days Ago   #10
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Wow. I never realised this was a thing!
6 Days Ago - 5 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Wow. I never realised this was a thing!
According to this poll, 90% of the forum believe I should white blanch my blue light images, so I'm guessing for 90% or the forum, it isn't a thing.
Raw or JPEG - PentaxForums.com

But I tend to ignore such attempts to ignore reality and impose one's own sense of what's right. I tend to go with what the camera tells me was there, and with what I saw.

Here's some more...
















People are free to have whatever preference they want artistically. My choice is to not white balance blue light images.
White balance Schmite Schmalence.
6 Days Ago   #12
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So what white balance do you have set on your camera? I could imagine that, if it was set to auto, the results would be very inconsistent.
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
So what white balance do you have set on your camera? I could imagine that, if it was set to auto, the results would be very inconsistent.
For the blue light effect (and everything else) I use raw. As I showed in the above link, the camera does the white balance and strips the blue channel so with an auto -white balance you won't be able to restore the blue even if you want it. But if you set the WB to daylight, I imagine you'd get a pretty good blue in blue light.
6 Days Ago - 6 Likes   #14
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Absolutely shoot RAW....I normally reckon to get a blue sky for up to about 45 mins after sunset between 60 mins and 30 mins before sunrise
This was was sunset + 40 mins



and this was 30 mins before sunrise


Last edited by StephenHampshire; 6 Days Ago at 04:30 PM.
6 Days Ago - 4 Likes   #15
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About 20 minutes after sunset, there's about a five minute window before the sky goes black. Facing west is good and clouds are even better.



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