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03-15-2010, 12:51 PM   #1
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Confusion about the magic hour

So speaking specifically about the 'sunset' magic hour...

Is this an hour before the sun drops below the horizon? Or as it's dropping?

What if there's a ridge between you and the horizon so that everything is quite cool well before sunset?

Basically, sometimes I can get it.. I show up around sunset and I'm like, yeah.. this is the magic hour...

Other times I show up around sunset and everything is very cool.. and I wait or come earlier and I just can seem to figure out when I need to be there...

Dumb question... sorry..

Ken

03-15-2010, 12:55 PM   #2
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1/2~1 the Sun rises and sets above/below the horizon and for me it's when she says "okay"
03-15-2010, 01:36 PM   #3
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Actually it is not always an hour, at high latitudes it can last all day. Really its any time the light comes from near the horizon, filtered through the most possible amount of atmosphere which gives every thing a warm glow and strong side lighting which gives great modelling and makes a 3D effect easier to produce.

In the north of scotland, where I live, the golden hour can last almost all day in the winter.

The opposite kind of light is at midday, when modelling is poor and colour-temperature is as cold as it gets.

Hope that helps.
03-15-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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For me, "the magic hour" is usually sometime before or way after I have arrived. Anyway, you should be aware that conditions change very rapidly right at sunset. Particularily exposure, but sometimes the camera will be confused about white balance too. Otherwise, just try to show up when it looks good.

03-15-2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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The magic hour is the time when the sun is between 6 degrees above and below the horizon. This is know as civil twilight. It varies in duration based on your location and time of the year.

If there are mountains the sun may disappear earlier so you will loose the 'golden' part of it
early. In some places they call it 'golden hour' (Canada) because it is golden before the sun
sets, in others the call it 'blue hour' (France) because it gets deep blue after the sun sets...

The main point is that contrast between subject and sky is quite low during that time, so you
can get photos with good detail in both.

- Itai
Neoluminance | Fine Art Photography by Itai Danan
03-16-2010, 03:00 AM   #6
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1) More on it here: Twilight - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2) It's when I'm in a hurry driving to or from home and can't stop to shoot.

3) I'm told it's the hour between the second drink, and falling into a stupor.
03-16-2010, 04:48 PM   #7
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The “magic hour” is a concept more then a time. It has to do with the kind/quality of light and the approximant time this light can happen.

There are 2 kinds of “magic hour”. The 2 kinds are the “Golden Hour” and the “Blue Hour”. Each happens 2 times a day (assuming the sky is not clouded over) with the golden hour just after sunrise and before sunset with the blue hour just the opposite.

It is much more important to study the light and what it is doing to the subject then to watch the clock. The light is going to change continually as you get closer to the sunrise/sunset. Within minutes of sunrise/sunset the light can change very quickly, almost like a light switch.

During the Golden Hour as the sun is closer to the sunrise/sunset it is lower and that make the shadow longer. This can make some subjects more interesting. Going thru more air makes the light more diffuse (not as hard) with some of the light coming from above even thought the sun is lower (this helps soften the light more). Going thru more air also filter out some of the blue light, this makes the light more yellow (this is the golden part). Notes I said more yellow not “looks” more yellow. If you follow the fiction of temperature color balance to closely you can take the yellow out and miss the gold.

During the Blue Hour the light is extremely diffuse with almost no shadows (other then from artificial lights). Yes it is darker but there is still light. This light is bluer. Even thou the sun is down if you take to photo of the sky it is bluer then during the day. The sky will get more indigo as it gets farther from sunrise/sunset until the sky is black. If you are shooting cityscapes (with all the artificial lights) you have to be careful on how you do the color balance.

This light is where the magic is. If you learn how the light affects your subjects this will help you grab a little of the magic. It can change peoples complexions make people look happier or the blue light can flatter someone with blond hair. It can take a flat looking landscape and make it look 3D or even just the opposite. It can be fun just to study the light.

DAZ
03-18-2010, 01:34 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by keithlester Quote
In the north of scotland, where I live, the golden hour can last almost all day in the winter.
I thought for a wee moment that I was not alone at there

But, no your still a good bit South of me

The light does seem to know when that hour is, for me it's when the the conditions are right.

I've seen me go back to a location many times 'till I get it right, for some places I'm still waiting yet.

04-12-2010, 07:53 AM   #9
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From my personal experiences shooting around sunrise/sunset, I've come to rely on two guidelines - I must arrive early for sunrise, and it's OK to arrive a little "late" for sunset.

Sunrise to me is the tricky one because it seems that the "magic hour" is more like a magic moment, or magic minute even. For Sunset I noticed that even when the sky appeared too dark to my eyes my camera could still capture a lot of color, especially that beautiful "sunset blue"
04-12-2010, 08:42 AM   #10
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The thing I find interesting is that the AM and PM magic hours have a slightly different color or feel.
04-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #11
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Great answer!

Great answer! Cindy

QuoteOriginally posted by DAZ Quote
The “magic hour” is a concept more then a time. It has to do with the kind/quality of light and the approximant time this light can happen.

There are 2 kinds of “magic hour”. The 2 kinds are the “Golden Hour” and the “Blue Hour”. Each happens 2 times a day (assuming the sky is not clouded over) with the golden hour just after sunrise and before sunset with the blue hour just the opposite.

It is much more important to study the light and what it is doing to the subject then to watch the clock. The light is going to change continually as you get closer to the sunrise/sunset. Within minutes of sunrise/sunset the light can change very quickly, almost like a light switch.

During the Golden Hour as the sun is closer to the sunrise/sunset it is lower and that make the shadow longer. This can make some subjects more interesting. Going thru more air makes the light more diffuse (not as hard) with some of the light coming from above even thought the sun is lower (this helps soften the light more). Going thru more air also filter out some of the blue light, this makes the light more yellow (this is the golden part). Notes I said more yellow not “looks” more yellow. If you follow the fiction of temperature color balance to closely you can take the yellow out and miss the gold.

During the Blue Hour the light is extremely diffuse with almost no shadows (other then from artificial lights). Yes it is darker but there is still light. This light is bluer. Even thou the sun is down if you take to photo of the sky it is bluer then during the day. The sky will get more indigo as it gets farther from sunrise/sunset until the sky is black. If you are shooting cityscapes (with all the artificial lights) you have to be careful on how you do the color balance.

This light is where the magic is. If you learn how the light affects your subjects this will help you grab a little of the magic. It can change peoples complexions make people look happier or the blue light can flatter someone with blond hair. It can take a flat looking landscape and make it look 3D or even just the opposite. It can be fun just to study the light.

DAZ
04-12-2010, 12:37 PM   #12
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It usually starts around 4PM when they lower all of the prices.

Oh--Magic Hour?

I thought you said Happy Hour.
04-12-2010, 01:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
It usually starts around 4PM when they lower all of the prices.

Oh--Magic Hour?

I thought you said Happy Hour.
See my definition #3 in my post #6 above.

Assuming the numbers don't swim before your eyes.




In other news, McD's is replacing their Happy Meals with Magic Meals. Eating them causes customers to turn into toads, lizards, cockroaches, and Tea Partiers. A prim McD's spokesiguana commented, "It's for your own good."
04-12-2010, 02:32 PM   #14
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I think you mean the blue hour. This is the hour before sunrise and after sunset when the sky is a very dreamy kind of midnight blue color, which is excellent for nighttime long exposures. Here's an example of a photo taken during it:

04-12-2010, 02:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
See my definition #3 in my post #6 above.
Curse you, Batman! Foiled again!
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