Though most people are of the opinion that photography starts after sunrise and ends with sunset, the reality is that the most productive time for photography is the twilight hours. Most outdoor photographers consider the sun dropping below the horizon as the beginning rather than as the end of their best photography hours.
Twilight is the most alluring and mesmerizing time of the day and provides a visual treat and adventure for photographers. Sunsets are the most enchanting time of the day and the sky turns into a beautiful cobalt blue which creates a stunning contrast for the warm hues of the morning and man made lights. Twilight is indeed a very enticing time to create some of the most expressive pictures.
Getting the Timing Right
We all know that lighting is the most fundamental factor that determines the outcome of pictures. Twilight is the small window that lasts for about half an hour before sunrise and half hour after sunset. It is a time when there is just a hint of color in the sky and it is important for the photographer to be in the location and be ready to shoot as the mesmerizing blue lasts only for a short span of time. The distinct lighting scenario with the sunlight gradually fading away creates a magical effect which is impossible to artificially create.
Great Twilight Photography Subjects
Twilight creates wonderful opportunities for portrait photography as the natural formation of the low golden rays of the sun is projected sideways and daintily warms the subject. This creates a warm glow on the model’s features. Landscape photography in twilight can also prove to be very fruitful. In such cases, finding the best vantage point is critical. The warm hues of the evening sun create breathtaking scenery.
Sunsets are also great twilight photography subjects. However, there are endless sunset pictures and it is essential to be creative and inventive in order to create unique pictures that are not predictable. In such cases, it helps to not shoot the sunset and rather wait for about 20 minutes after the sun has dropped below the horizon in order to add more depth and interest to the scene. Evening urban shots are also great in twilight as the low sun sheds its rays over the architecture and spot-lit buildings to create attractive shadows.
Tips for High Quality Twilight Photography
There are a few simple tips to keep in mind to get the best output from twilight photography. The primary requirement is to decide in advance the location and scene well before shooting. Make sure to be in the scene at least ten minute prior to sunset. Pick your vantage point carefully and do a practice run of various lens and focal length options. It is important to keep you camera always in a full manual mode and set it on your tripod as shutter speeds need to be long.
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It also helps to make use of a shutter release cable for long exposures and set the ASA as low as possible and the f-stop between f8 and f13. A simple common sense thing is to carry a handheld flashlight as it helps not only to find your way around, but also helps to adjust the camera’s settings as and when necessary. HDR photography allows the photographer to encapsulate the entire spectrum of the sky and the twilight provides the magical vivid blue color.
Twilight photography will definitely prove to be a very rewarding experience and a visual treat for photographers. The magical and mystical quality of light and ambience created by the twilight easily outweighs all the practical difficulties and offers a rich photography experience!
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