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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Magic Hour

I grew up in New England, and even for residents, fall foliage was loved by all. The beauty in sparsely populated states, such as Vermont with large stands of deciduous trees, is such that many travel to and tour the area during "leaf peeping" season. When the conditions were right, my family would sometimes take a country drive. If the leaves and light were right, we were sometimes treated to jaw-dropping scenery.

A popular cliche amongst photographers is that "it's all about the light." It is overused, but it is quite true. If you are around artists or photographers enough, you may also hear the phrases "magic hour" or "golden hour" - the period before sunrise and after sunset when the light is reddish. This light during autumn can lead to exceptionally beautiful vistas.

Prior to the inception of this website and my photographic interest here, I paid little attention to the properties of ambient light - intensity, color, and changing quality over the time of day or cloud cover.
Many of one's intuitions about photography are wrong. A bright, sunny day is the worst time for shooting, particularly midday. Cloudy days give much better color. And the most coveted times for most landscape photographers is during the magic hour.

Some, like photographer Ken Rockwell, will make claims of a rather extreme nature regarding the magic hour: "Glorious light only happens for 60 seconds or less any particular day, if it happens at all. If it happens at all, it usually happens sometime in a window 15 minutes before or after sunrise or sunset." One must, of course, allow that not every photographer wants this particular golden light for every photo.

Capturing this morning light requires being up at a very early hour, which I typically am. Two mornings ago, I was up before dawn and witnessed the extraordinary light of the magic hour illuminating the vestiges of autumn foliage. Everything was aglow in oranges and pinks, begging for a photo. Today, two hours later in the morning, you can see the dramatic difference (lower photo).
Many New York City residents will never see this phenomenon, particularly in the morning - they are not at the right place at the right time to happen upon a natural setting during the magic hour...

Related Posts: In a Different Light, Wood, Glass, Brass and Trees, Light and Lights, Mother Nature, Risk Not Living, Manhattanhenge

9 comments:

Ботва онлайн said...

Every white has its black, and every sweet its sour

Mary P. said...

Not "shopped," wow.
Your spot has beauty all times and seasons.

Anonymous said...

Hellen said: This is definitely one of my favorite posts. Thanks Brian.

Brian Dubé said...

Mary P. - "Thats what you pay for."
http://newyorkdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2011/08/thats-what-you-pay-for.html

Hellen - thanks. Maybe you particularly connect with this because you're an early riser also?

NYC Florist said...

So pretty for only 60 seconds a day? Imagine how many people must miss the sight!

Anonymous said...

I'm crazy to visit NY. And it's because of You!!!

Lorena

thecubiclerebel said...

Niiiiiiiiiiice. Makes me want to sit outside with a cup of pumpkin laced beverage.

Brodsky Organization said...

Brian, your photos are always so beautiful! Just wanted to send a thank you to you for always sharing. It's great to see your work, but also get to read a little bit about the process behind it.

Anonymous said...

I like the picture :)