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View Full Version : Blue Hour at Alamo Square



TheWengler
09-27-2010, 11:20 AM
When I first started photography Iíd take my camera out at anytime to take a picture. Then I learned about the best light being within a couple hours at either end of the day. That was great for awhile. Now after watching so many days come and go itís clear that the best light never lasts more than a few minutes.

I was out at Alamo Square the other day shooting a classic scene for the first time. I decided I wanted to shoot at blue hour to help bring out some color in the scene. The light changes so quickly this time of day that you have to find your spot and be ready. There has been plenty of times where my best composition of the day and the best light of the day arenít in the same picture because I got impatient and wandered away from a good spot. This time of day the balance between daylight and night lights is constantly changing. Here are the examplesÖ

This was taken 10 minutes after sunset. There are some city lights, but the scene is still dominated by natural light.
55024

This was taken 22 minutes after sunset. Here there's more of an even balance between natural and city light. It's my favorite of the three for it's balanced light and nice color.
55025

This was taken 34 minutes after sunset. Now the city lights are starting to dominate the scene.
55026
I used a hard edged GND filter over the city for all of these images

Any of these could be good. It just depends what you're trying to achieve.

raven15
09-27-2010, 01:22 PM
Now after watching so many days come and go itís clear that the best light never lasts more than a few minutes.

There has been plenty of times where my best composition of the day and the best light of the day arenít in the same picture because I got impatient and wandered away from a good spot.

This was taken 22 minutes after sunset. Here there's more of an even balance between natural and city light. It's my favorite of the three for it's balanced light and nice color.
55025

Any of these could be good. It just depends what you're trying to achieve.
Unfortunately true. And even worse, the exact right time often corresponds with dinner time :mad:.

I agree on the second shot being preferable. After years of resistance I have finally decided I need a tripod and filters, maybe in another year I'll have the cash...

TheWengler
09-27-2010, 02:25 PM
Unfortunately true. And even worse, the exact right time often corresponds with dinner time :mad:.

I agree on the second shot being preferable. After years of resistance I have finally decided I need a tripod and filters, maybe in another year I'll have the cash...

Haha, yup. On this night I put dinner off until 10pm. You gotta have a tripod man!

D Thompson
09-27-2010, 05:39 PM
Now after watching so many days come and go itís clear that the best light never lasts more than a few minutes.

The light changes so quickly this time of day that you have to find your spot and be ready.
Yeah, you better be ready and it can change quickly. Reminds me of a few years ago my brother & I were at Arches NP and clouds started moving in blocking the sun. We had been shooting all afternoon and had one location scouted for the "sweet light", but decided to leave thinking the light was gone for the day. We were a couple of miles past the place when the clouds broke a bit and the light turned beautiful. I slammed on the brakes, did a U-turn, and floored it. We got to the place, jumped out, grabbed the tripods, cameras, and took off running like little idiots. We both got set up and got to shoot for 4-5 minutes before it left again. Gave us a good laugh.

TheWengler
09-27-2010, 08:05 PM
Yeah, you better be ready and it can change quickly. Reminds me of a few years ago my brother & I were at Arches NP and clouds started moving in blocking the sun. We had been shooting all afternoon and had one location scouted for the "sweet light", but decided to leave thinking the light was gone for the day. We were a couple of miles past the place when the clouds broke a bit and the light turned beautiful. I slammed on the brakes, did a U-turn, and floored it. We got to the place, jumped out, grabbed the tripods, cameras, and took off running like little idiots. We both got set up and got to shoot for 4-5 minutes before it left again. Gave us a good laugh.

Being stuck in a car when the light gets good is the worst! Glad you guys made it back there in time for a few minutes of shooting.

AdamW
10-01-2010, 07:12 PM
Very nice demonstration, Lukas. Now I want some filters....

TheWengler
10-02-2010, 12:22 PM
Very nice demonstration, Lukas. Now I want some filters....

Thanks Adam. I couldn't live w/o my filters.

Honest Gaza
10-02-2010, 05:39 PM
I agree on the second shot being preferable.

And yet for me, I prefer the 1st or 3rd :o

But that's the great thing about photography...we can all have our own preferences.

Phill D
10-03-2010, 01:15 AM
Agreed Gaza I prefer the third & my wife & daughter prefer the second. Nice shots by the way Lukas.

TheWengler
10-04-2010, 01:08 AM
Thanks guys :)


But that's the great thing about photography...we can all have our own preferences.

Agreed!