Every second counts

Blue Hour

Timing matters. This is especially true when it comes to photography. I was astounded this week during three photo sessions how much difference a few minutes can make. The blue hour is one of my favorite times to take photos. While on a trip to Cascais, Portugal, I set out to photograph the famous lighthouse Farol da Guia.

The Sol App

When it comes to scouting photo locations, I frequently use the handy Sol app on my iPhone. This app provides simple but effective daylight forecast. You can easily determine the best times for photography based on the selected time/ date & location. This week, I wanted to take advantage of the blue hour, also called nautical dusk. It happens right after sunset and the light has a magical blue shade. Combining this with artificial light can create some wonderful photos.

Every minute counts

What I have learned over the years is that every minute counts when it comes to capturing the best scene during the blue hour. if you wait too long, highlights can quickly blow out. If you are too early, the blue shade might not be strong enough. You just need to find the right balance and keep taking photos. Take a look at the two images below. They were taken within just 3 minutes. It was starting to get difficult to control the highlights towards the end.

17:53, 20s, f7,1

Other considerations

The other obvious factor to consider is weather. We haven’t had any luck with the sunsets on this trip. But two different evenings yielded different results.

If you find a nice composition/ scene and you want to make the best out of it, try going there during the blue hour. I love the colors and contrasts. It’s an easy way to significantly improve your photography.

All photos taken with the Fuji X-T5 (Velvia).

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