Before and after sunset - mood swings

November 18, 2015

Together with all the primary technical stuff: the exposure, the focus, the field and point of view, the balance, the composition, the textural and tonal relationships and so on, the successful conveyance of mood or emotion, in other words - the way it makes the viewer feel and think, is vital in a photo.


I wrote in my previous post about the blue hour, so this time I thought it would be useful to look at the bit that comes after it (or before it if you're shooting in the evening) the golden hour - the moment that most photographers generally think of as the best time for landscape photography. For the purposes of this post though I wanted to offer up a pair of photos for comparison so that the golden hour could be put into perspective with the at least equally absorbing blue hour.




As the blog title suggests, I shot these examples before and after sunset. The resultant images demonstrate the entirely divergent moods we can create by shooting the same location at different times and in changing light. There is a suggestion of  stillness and isolation in the post sunset image that contrasts with the movement and expectation of the people in the warmer colours of the sunset image.


Arriving early on location and staying put as the light intensifies, or staying late as the light dwindles, is always a worthwhile exercise. Don't be tempted to give up and go home because the weather is a bit meh or the light levels are poor or not your ideal choice. Work the scene. Look for shapes, tones and textures. Go wide, get close up, isolate details, try a long exposure, convert to black and white. Of course, some weather and lighting conditions are more difficult to compose and create in than others, but do try to learn to accept all light as a photographic opportunity waiting to be exploited.





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