At first when learning photography, there is so much to pay attention to. Technical things like the basics of learning how to use your camera. Then the many elements of making a good composition. As you strive to become a better photographer, paying more attention to light becomes the single most important step you can take to improve your photography. Three factors influence how natural light renders a subject: time of day, camera direction and weather. The “golden hour” is typically regarded as having the most desirable light for photography. This is the hour just before sunset and just after sunrise. However, shooting at this time is not without challenges.
The Golden Hour is characterized by horizontal light that casts long shadows and gives subjects a warm glow but this isn’t always translated well into an image. Make sure that your camera’s white balance (WB) doesn’t eliminate your warm golden colour. I recommend using the RAW file format (if your camera supports them). RAW files allow one to correct WB after taking the picture and to set the WB based on a broader range of color temperature. Ironically, when the lighting is most dramatic is also when your camera is most likely to make an error with its exposure. Paying attention to your histogram can help you minimize clipping of highlights and adjust according.
My golden hour is usually in the evening because I generally sleep through the sun rising. This ornamental grass was captured during an evening visit to the Ottawa Experimental Farm in warm golden light.
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