As I tend to be working at both ends of the day, I see a lot of golden hour. Golden hour is an hour either side of sunrise or sunset, so named for the golden tones permeating from the horizon. Warmer toned light mingles with shadows cast over longer distances, which tends to create a magical ambience (hence it’s synonym “magic hour”). I’ve always been rather fond of shooting at these times of day, mostly for the abundance of enchanting lighting.
While often thought of as a hackneyed time to shoot, I relish the challenge of trying to get a unique shot. Simply capturing a more pastel colour palette, for instance, is enough to turn a generic sunrise or sunset into something more. This concept was introduced to me by Richard Ayoade’s film Submarine, which was filmed (on actual film) predominantly during golden hour. The scenes shot at these times were alluring, without ever feeling generic. It’s also a reflection of the fact that rarely, if ever, will identical sunrises and sunsets be encountered.
Golden hour is undoubtedly my favourite time of day to be out with a camera. There’s the charm of the atmosphere, the challenge of depicting it my way and the contentedness from knowing that every golden hour is unique. Even if it is a variation on a theme, having something different to photograph keeps me excited about pressing that shutter button. That’s something which can never be overstated.