I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Blue Hour

The blue hour is a photographic term that describes the time of day when the light takes on a strong blue tone. The sky becomes a deep and rich blue that appears to have almost a smooth, creamy texture.
This is not an easy thing to do. I went out at what my Exsate caculator said was the right time last week. I think the image above was a little too early and the sky had some clouds to block the true blueness of the sky at that time of night.
This one was more what a blue hour image looks like but it's too light.
... because I had to lighten the image in Picasa to see the flowers and the donkey. The image was too dark.

The blue hour isn't really an "hour" at all. In reality, what photographers call the blue hour really only lasts about 20 minutes. The blue hour lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes just after sunset and just before sunrise. The exact time of the blue hour will vary with location and will change depending on time of year and things like air quality.
So I waited... thinking that it wasn't dark enough and I got this...
You can see the blue sky on the right side of the image but this is more interesting because of the garden light and the light from the living room window.
And this one, of my garden shed  with a nice reflection in the small window. 
But still... this is not a true "blue hour" photography. I need to work on this when I'm downtown at night (which doesn't happen very often) or when I'm staying at someones house in a town. It's recommended that you take shots of city views, beach landscapes, sunsets and architectural images.
So I used the only outside, "lit at night", model  that I could find.
 A concrete lady with light reflecting from the solar garden light that I bought at the Tractor Supply store.
I love the reflections of light that moved over her face. You can see the blue tone to the photo but this isn't what I was trying to do. The walkway was picking up the "blue hour" blues but there is no sky in the photo. And, again, I had to lighten the photo to see it.
And then, faster than I expected, the sky was too dark... so I just call these "night shots".
and... "solar light in the hollyhocks".
 So, my first venture into Blue Hour photograpy was a bust. I still have a lot to learn with this technique. I think I need buildings or town lights. I also need to put the camera on a tripod and try my Tamron wide angle lens during this "blue" period of creativity. I suspect that some of the examples of "blue hour" photography on Google images are Photoshopped to death and have a fake blueness to them. Still some are beautiful and I'm the amateur. I've have a long way to go before I really know what these photos entail and learning to actually produce an image that I would be happy to call "blue hour".
It's a good chance that I may have caught one blue hour images in Germany two years ago and didn't even know it.
I found this one... taken as my sister and I walked to a Christmas Festival in Berlin one night. This, I believe, is a true "blue hour" photo... and I didn't even know it then. Sometimes ignorance is no excuse. I need to work on this.


  1. its a cool and rather mysterious time during the blue hour...though i will say i did not know it was called that...

  2. All your photos are amazing. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  3. I have not heard of "the blue hour," but I am totally fascinated by it. I think your photos of the solar light in the garden look pretty cool. And the photo in Germany...NICE! I will start paying attention to that blue hour time slot . . .

  4. I've never known about of the blue hour. Have I been walking around with my eyes closed. I will begin to pay attention immediately. I looked at that calculator website, will spend some time trying to learn. the blue light on the garden sculpture's face is amazing!

  5. I seem to only catch it when I'm not trying and least expect it!

  6. Before this I'd never heard of the Blue Hour. Thanks for the education!

  7. I'd not heard of blue light! Now I'm going to have to try too :-). Thanks for sharing!

  8. So much to learn hey Connie? I really like the lady and the light on her face too and I love the warm light coming from the windows...keep on keepin on!

  9. I just recently heard of the blue hour. I'm still trying to capture the golden hour! LOL. Love the shadows on your lady's face. Very serene.


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