The "golden hour" refers to the period of time shortly after sunrise and before sunset when the sunlight is softer, warmer, and more diffused. During this time, the sun is low in the sky, and its rays have to pass through a greater thickness of the Earth's atmosphere, scattering shorter wavelengths and allowing longer wavelengths (such as red and orange) to dominate. This creates a warm and golden quality of light.
There are several reasons why the golden hour is highly valued, especially in photography and cinematography:
- Soft and Flattering Light: The angle of the sun during the golden hour results in less harsh and more diffused light. This softens shadows, reduces contrast, and produces a more flattering and even illumination. This is particularly beneficial for portrait photography.
- Warm Tones: The warm hues of the golden hour light can add a beautiful and appealing tone to photos. The warm colors often enhance the mood and atmosphere of the scene, creating a more visually pleasing image.
- Enhanced Textures and Details: The low angle of the sun during the golden hour can create interesting textures and emphasize details in the landscape. This can add depth and dimension to photographs.
- Long Shadows: The longer shadows during the golden hour can add drama and depth to your photos. This can be particularly effective for capturing landscapes and architectural elements.
- Reduced Glare: The angle of the sun during the golden hour helps reduce glare and reflections, making it easier to capture clear and vibrant images without the challenges posed by strong, direct sunlight.
- Versatility: The golden hour provides a versatile range of lighting conditions, suitable for various types of photography, including portraits, landscapes, and outdoor events.
Because of these advantages, photographers often aim to schedule their shoots during the golden hour to achieve the best possible lighting conditions and produce visually appealing and captivating images.