MOODY BLUES

There’s a very short and valu­able time-slot at the end of Magic Hour used by ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phers

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia -

If you feel a bit rushed cop­ing with Magic Hour, just wait un­til the end of it for the short­est pre­dictable light known to pho­tog­ra­phers. This is Blue Evening Light, when the sky be­comes a rich deep blue, yet still short of black night. If you use it in com­bi­na­tion with reg­u­lar tung­sten-lit ex­te­ri­ors or in­te­ri­ors, it de­liv­ers a won­der­ful back­drop and con­trast.

This time of day is beloved of ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phers and those who pho­to­graph ho­tels and re­sorts, for two rea­sons. One is that there’s a nat­u­ral colour com­ple­ment be­tween the blue of the sky and the or­ange of the ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing that is au­to­mat­i­cally pleas­ing. The other is that the semi-dark­ness acts like the­atri­cal make-up to con­ceal blem­ishes and dis­trac­tions in even poorly fin­ished build­ings. The prob­lem is that it lasts for min­utes only, and creeps up on you al­most un­awares. Even when you are pre­pared for it, hav­ing cho­sen your view­point and ti­died the scene up in front of you, your eyes’ clever adap­ta­tion to the slowly fail­ing light can give you a dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion from what the cam­era sees.

A good rule of thumb is to start pay­ing at­ten­tion about half an hour af­ter sunset in mid-lat­i­tudes, and then be­gin to use Live View and take some test shots to look at the bal­ance of colours. Use ei­ther your cam­era’s Auto mode to cope with the chang­ing light lev­els, or Man­ual mode with plenty of wide brack­et­ing. For the rich­est blue, shoot away from or at right an­gles to the last re­mains of the sunset.

A re­sort on Lake Yang­zong­hai in Yun­nan, China. As dark­ness falls, the bal­ance of light in­ten­sity shifts from the sky to­wards the ar­ti­fi­cial tung­sten lights The point at which the deep blue of dusk and the warm or­ange of tung­sten are bal­anced may only last a few min­utes

Here you can see why the shot at the top right works so well: the or­ange of the tung­sten bulbs per­fectly com­ple­ments the deep blue of dusk, be­fore dark­ness falls com­pletely

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