The blue hour is the period of twilight each morning and evening when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. This effect is caused by the relative diffusibility of short blue wavelengths of light versus the longer red wavelengths. During the blue “hour” (typically the period is about 40 minutes in length), red light passes straight into space while blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and therefore reaches the earth’s surface. Because of the quality of the light, this period is treasured by artists. (Source: Wikipedia) Quite similar to the golden hour (immediately after the sunrise & before the sunset), the blue hour is a small window of opportunity – maybe even shorter. Either the sky is too bright for that perfect blue tone or it becomes too dark. A few things need to be kept in mind for the perfect shot: Subject: Cityscapes,Landscapes,Architecture with sky in the background work well as subject in blue hour. Also the subject needs to be directly opposite the sun for the perfect rich blue.Irrespective of weather cloudy,clear or foggy,the camera will capture blue in the blue hour. Contrast in subject: the contrast here means the presence of brighter tones which break the monotony of blue. The street lights,light in the building and light on the building especially the warm light help in creating the contrast. Yellow/Orange and blue complement each other very nicely. Equipment: Since the light is not sufficient to capture the photographs with hand held camera,a sturdy tripod is must. (Higher ISO will result in noise which will not look pleasing in the photographs). A remote (corded or non-corded) is a useful accessory,otherwise work with timer option in the camera. Do not forget to switch off stabilisation option(IS/VR/VC/OS) on your lens since the camera is on a tripod. Aperture: A smaller aperture(f11-f16) works best for these kinds of shots (Aperture Priority mode is advised). Besides giving more depth of field, it also give starburst quality to light source especially the street lights.Since the camera is mounted on a tripod,long exposure will not cause any camera shake (keep the lowest possible ISO in the camera) Preparation: For the perfect viewpoint,angle and composition, the spot for taking the shot should be decided well ahead of the blue hour. Since it is going to last for a very short duration, the scope of experimentation is very less. Exposure: The metering in the camera sometimes does not give the perfect results. It is essential to bracket the exposure( take multiple shots at different exposures). Besides getting the almost perfect exposure,multiple shots can also be used for blending the photographs in an editing software. Also shoot in RAW format so that all the shadow & highlight details can easily be recovered while post processing.
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