The Importance of Light in Landscape Photography - Blue Hour and Golden Hour

Colourful West of Ireland Sunset with That Tree - Golden Hour Colourful West of Ireland Sunset with That Tree - Golden Hour

Light is important in photography, especially in landscape photography.

I have written about the difference in light and its effects on the look and feel of a landscape image here.

The two images in this post is from one of my favourite places in Ireland, the west coast - taken two nights apart.

Here my favourite tree in both images is set against a sunset sky, the first evening was a bright and colourful night with few clouds allowing the glow of the last rays of sunlight to brighten the sky and reflect off the surface of the water.

That West of Ireland Tree at Sunset
That West of Ireland Tree at Sunset

The darker, blue image, is from two nights later when thick cloud obscured the sunset and held back the orangey, warm glow of the sun as it neared the horizon. You can see that the sky is still bright, towards the horizon but that thick cloud is holding back most of the sunset colours.


That West of Ireland Tree at Sunset, Colourful Evening
That West of Ireland Tree at Sunset, Colourful Evening

Both actually are fine images, the open sky meant an exposure silhouetting the foreground to bring out that sky and all of its colour giving a "golden hour" feel while the cloudy evening allowed for a more balanced exposure and the lack of direct sunlight, filtered through thick cloud gave a "blue hour" feel to the image.

The golden hour is a period of time stretching from before sunset to just after, while the blue hour moves in afterwards. Neither last for an hour, more like 30-45 minutes and the same happens at sunrise with the blue hour coming ahead of the golden hour.

The key to interpreting the light and the weather would be to decide which type of lighting is correct for your needs. I could argue a case for both, what do you think?  Let me know in the comments below.

Join Panoramic Ireland on a west of Ireland photography workshop - in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Clare or Kerry to photograph the beauty of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way at sunset or any time of day.

Last modified on Monday, 15 April 2019 21:49

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