Many photography articles directed at beginner photographers talk about the only good times to photograph happen during the golden hour (sometimes they talk about the blue hour as well), the time before and after sunrise and sunset. Writers go so far as to say they put their cameras away during the afternoon when the light is the harshest. Then, as you progress in photography you learn that you don’t have to hide your camera away like a recluse just because the sun has risen. Any time is a good time to shoot but the golden hour is my favorite time to shoot (harsh light is also a favorite because of the shadows it creates).
The golden hour is indeed a great time to photograph whether you’re doing landscape photography, portraits, or street photography. Not only because of the color the light from the sun emits but because of the location of the sun in the sky. You can use the sun to create silhouettes or create star-bursts… Or both.
Next time you plan to take the camera to the streets try to time it so that you are there about an hour and a half before the sun starts to set. Think about keeping your subjects between you and the direction of the sun to capture silhouettes and possibly frame them with the sun. Don’t burn your peepers by staring through your viewfinder into the heartless yellow ball of fire in the sky, use your live view or shoot from the hip.*
* Whether or not you’re looking directly into the sun through the viewfinder you could be doing damage to your eye if you look towards the sun through said viewfinder. The mirror reflects the light directly into your eye holes so don’t be dumb.
What is your favorite time of the day to shoot? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.