Photo Tips: Golden Light Illuminates Golden Years

“I recently turned sixty. Practically a third of my life is over.” Woody Allen

 Photograph During The Magic Hour :

Most photographers agree that up to an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset are the best times to capture deep rich colors and the warm glow of the “Magic Hour”.


Shooting toward the sunrise
Monterey Bay Pier, CA, 2012 No Tripod

Since you’re probably up at dawn anyway or aren’t tired enough to go to bed at sunset, it’s a great time to go outside and take pictures. Take along a tripod because unfortunately, exposure times will be long (shutter speed slow), depth of field shallow (scene focus) and high ISO settings of 400+  produce less detail and more grain. I took the backyard desert with quail in the foreground photo shortly after sunrise in Hemet, CA and the Monterey Bay picture at sunrise facing the hills with the rising sun behind, so everything else is in silhouette.  Both were taken without a tripod. You may get lucky without a tripod, especially if you 1) set your auto timer to 2 seconds which cuts down on shake when you press the shutter button, 2) keep your arms close to your body, and or 3) brace yourself against a solid object or an attractive man or woman.

Double  exposure, Sunrise Hemet, CA
Double exposure, Sunrise
Hemet, CA


” Just because there’s snow on the roof, it doesn’t mean the boiler has gone out.” Anonymous

 Shoot Before 10:00 a.m. and After 4:00 p.m.


Mid-Day Sun Good for Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and Open Water:

Chicago Midday
Harsh Light, but Very Blue Water

As the sun moves higher in the sky, the bright light casts strong shadows and harsh contrast on your subjects. Because they look less appealing, try to move them into open shade where the light is more even. If they won’t cooperate, head for a cafe where you may find some interesting subjects indoors. You may also want to take a nap between these bright daylight hours (10 to 4).

Water is the only subject I know of that benefits from sunny overhead light. Water reflects the sky and produces rich, deep colors unavailable at other times. (physicists, please comment).


Visit next Friday for tips on shooting under overcast skies and in the shade

Copyright © 2013, Marlene Hutchison


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