Photographers and painters are keenly aware of the dramatic scenery available at the beginning and ending of each day. The low angle of the sun creates powerful side and back lighting opportunities for the artist to uniquely shape their subject. Additionally, the warmer color temperature and increased contrast add further visual interest. Of equal importance, I believe the artist must capture the feeling or experience of being there at these special times of day.
Many cultures, philosophies and faiths recognize the inherent beauty and power bestowed at sunrise and sunset. I remember reading years ago Henry Ward Beecher referring to the first hour of the morning as the “rudder of the day.” At a physiological level, these times mark transitions in the daily cycle of life. Sunrise is also the meditative time to peacefully reflect and prepare or the day to come. At sunset, we also reflect and unwind from the stresses of the day, while preparing to rest our body and mind. We all experience this ritual at some level of consciousness. Even today, medical and wellness experts continue to tell us, to the degree we embed ourselves in the meditative opportunities at these special times of day, the healthier and more enjoyable we will live our lives.
So, it is this magical, if not also mystical, experience of a peaceful sunrise or beautiful sunset I hope to capture in my work. I don’t think it’s sometimes referred to as the golden hour just as a reference to the warmth of a rising or setting sun.
These images are from my July 2015 vacation at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Click on an image to see a higher resolution version of each image on my photography portfolio site: csyjr.photoshelter.com. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and feedback!