Golden hour?

We don’t need no stinking golden hour!

There is absolutely no denying that as far as landscape images go, your most dramatic light is going to take place an hour or so on either side of sunrise and sunset.  That being said, I’ve read countless other photographer’s blogs that state that’s the only time they take pictures.

Strikes me as silly, really.  Focusing only on those two hours and not on the other 22 means you’re out sitting on your butt somewhere and not catching some great images.  Typically what I will do as the sun makes its way across the sky is transition from color images to monochrome.    My eye starts to shift from magnificent color to shapes, shadows and composition.  I think that actually benefits my color images, to be honest, as sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a flash of color and lose sight of the other basic elements of art and photography.

Unlike other photographers who will often shoot everything in color and then shift to monochrome in post, I will actually make the shift in camera. It’s almost like I’m clicking a switch in my brain as well into b/w photography.

shapes and shadow

So if you find yourself on an adventure and the golden hour is over – don’t put up that camera and work on your craft. I think you’ll find it useful. 😉


~ by Derrick Birdsall on January 6, 2012.

20 Responses to “Golden hour?”

  1. I hear ya. I think the golden hour obsession is ridiculous, though I do love catching it. Lately I’ve been in mountains and I’m constantly surprised when I get good light (or bad!). Weather and topography are just as important as time imo.

    Lately I’ve been lazy and not taking photos and not posting onto the blog. You’ve been prolific with your blog. Wish I have so many posts on mine.

  2. THANK YOU!!!!!

  3. Good idea. 🙂

  4. Sweet!

  5. Good thoughts here Derrick. It can be easy to hide behind color, but when you strip it away you have to concentrate on the picture elements. That can only help strengthen your vision and your work. And yeah — to limit yourself to shooting only at certain times of the day is to limit your growth as a photographer.

  6. I do like the golden hour but find I shoot in whatever light I’ve got. You get some nice surprises that way.

    Bravo for shooting in B&W! I don’t do it enough but do enjoy it when I think to. Totally changes the way things look and forces you to think about the shapes and the light rather than all the distracting colors. Nice!

  7. Hi Derrick. I’m with the photograph all day crowd, HOWEVER, most of the year, when you are this far north, golden hour extends through much of the day. It’s only a few months of the year that the light is harsh at midday and even then it’s not like the southwest.


  8. Your attitude about this subject is one of the reasons your photographs are different from the masses of other people with a camera. Everybody photographing around sunrise and sunset only is a big part of why much of landscape photography is starting to look the same. A mentor once told me, “Find out what everyone is doing and do the exact opposite.” Your point is also excellent about when to make good black and white images that then inform your color work.

  9. Your work is stunning in any light, Mr. B…
    and this is certainly no exception!

  10. I, also, am a “photograph any time of day” photographer. It is a passion with me, and I couldn’t stand to wait until a certain time of day to use my cameras. I, like you am a big fan of the Big Bend. We usually take about 4 trips per year to the area. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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