Friday, April 5, 2013

Landscape Photography after Sunset

Landscape photographers are always searching for the "right" light. Usually this means "golden hour". Golden hour is approximately the hour or so before sunset when the light is softer, shadows are not as harsh, and everything tends to "glow" warmly. It tends to be when a lot of landscape photographs are taken - and with good reason - as it makes for fantastic photographs.

However, the half hour or more after sunset can be just as amazing for photographing landscapes. Strangely enough though, I've seen photographers pack up their gear as soon as the sun sets. They've gotten their sunset photographs, golden hour is over, so they are done. But "blue" hour can sometimes be as good or better depending on your goals. For instance, most shadows disappear altogether after sunset, making canyons easier to photograph.

Fish River Canyon, Namibia - Photographed after Sunset

Right after sunset the sky still contains sunset colors. Sometimes it is even more dramatic than during sunset - especially if there's clouds. And there's also the amazing blue color that is so intense!

Burntside Lake, Ely, MN - Photographed after Sunset

If photographing after sunset - you will have less light, so a tripod becomes a necessity. Your exposures will be longer, and impossible to hand-hold. However, this can be good for water photographs as it will "smooth" the water surface and give you an "ethereal" feel.

Rock in the lake - Photographed after Sunset

Other equipment that can be helpful is a remote shutter release. This allows you to keep your camera free from movement if you don't have to touch the shutter button.

So next time you're out at a beautiful location at sunset - don't automatically pack up just because the sun sets - wait around a bit, take some photos... You might be surprised with what you get.