Golden Hour Photography: tips for making magical landscapes at dawn

Golden Hour Photography: tips for making magical landscapes at dawn

3 ways to give your golden hour photography an advantage

Three ways to give your golden hour photography an advantage: step 1

Be the early bird
Aim to reach your destination in good time. The best colour in the sky is often 15- 30 minutes before sunrise, so you need to be set up and ready to shoot to capture the quickly changing light.

 

Three ways to give your golden hour photography an advantage: step 2

Ensure sharp shots
Dawn photography means shooting in low light, so take steps to make sure your images are pin sharp. Set up a tripod on a solid base, or push the legs into soft ground to add stability. Use a remote release in combination with mirror-lock up to prevent internal camera vibrations.

 

Three ways to give your golden hour photography an advantage: step 3

Control the exposure
The lighting can be variable at dawn, causing major differences between the exposure for the sky and land. Using Manual metering take a reading from a mid-tone in the foreground and then fit a neutral density graduated filter to reduce the exposure for the sky to balance the shot.

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Tips to remember when shooting golden hour photography

Tips to remember when shooting golden hour photography

Stay dry
One disadvantage to shooting early in the morning, especially in the summer, is the dew. So it’s a good idea to wear waterproof trousers and boots in order to avoid getting wet and uncomfortable. A plastic sheet will also help keep your camera bag dry.

Seek out mist
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and look out for high pressure with cold clear nights and little or no wind. Mist often appears over rivers, lakes and damp ground, so it’s always worth visiting such locations to increase your chances of successful shots.

Shoot long exposures
Pre-dawn light is an ideal time to shoot creative long exposures of moving water or clouds. Set the lowest ISO and the aperture to f/16 or f/22 for the slowest shutter speed. For even longer exposures, you’ll need to fit a polarizer filter or neutral density filter.

Take a hike
Don’t restrict yourself to low level shooting. If you’re visiting hilly locations, the valleys will be cast in deep shadow until well after the sun is up – so head for the hilltops instead to catch the first rays of sunrise.

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