What is Golden Hour & why would I be interested in it?
Golden Hour is that great time just before sunset when the sun in low and imparts a great warm light & soft shadows. It's a favourite time of day for photographers & cinematographers. The light at this time of day does great things, it can give skin a wonderful glow, it can create nice shadows that give definition without obfuscation. So many people sing it's praises that it is almost a cliche.
Although some of the glories ascribed to golden hour might be a bit extreme it's still something to be explored.
I say explored because it takes a bit of effort & experience to get good golden hour photos, same as with photos taken at any other time. You can't just say "oh, it's 30 minutes til sunset" and point your lens in any direction push the shutter & be guaranteed a captivating piece of art.
With basic photgraphic techniques, a bit of observation &, probably some trial & error, you can get some really interesting results. This formula of basic techniques, observation & trial will usually work in most situations. This is another reason I used the word 'explore' earlier. When shooting at "solar noon" with the sun directly above you it makes very little difference how you arrange yourself & the subject in respect to the light as it will always be directly above you. I've heard this time of day called the "ugliest", "most boring" & "worst" part of the day to shoot outdoors using all natural light. The idea follows that the farther away from that light/ sun position your are the nicer or more appealing the light will be.
Obviously with some skill and a bit of kit you can make the light at "solar noon" look much more pleasing and do just about what you want. But, that's not what we're talking about today. We're talking about exploring golden hour. At noon there's modifying , but not much exploring of the light. where at golden hour it can be more about exploring what the existing can do for you "out of the box" or "as is". You look at the sun and the subject and work out from there, you can still add modifiers and other tools to enhance your photos if needed. For me at least, golden hour is about seeing what the natural light can do alone and building on that. The light might give me something different than I had planned, but that's what exploring is all about.
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