During our family vacation at Ocean Isle Beach last July, we made our traditional sunset visit to the local pier. I quickly noticed a different light characteristic than what I was used to. The light was noticeably cooler. Later I remembered this visit was a little later than usual, the sun had just set at the horizon.
As sunset approaches the kelvin temperature of light typically drops resulting in the “golden hour” light. But after sunset, the kelvin temperature rise back up, cooling things off. As in sunrise, this transition point offers a great range of color temperatures. Warm yellow and orange, sun touched tonality sits just above cooler magenta and purple tonality just out of reach of the sun’s rays.
Shooting at twilight required use of a much higher ISO, this series was shot between 2000 – 3200 ISO. Though my Nikon D750 does a nice job with higher ISO noise reduction, this series still required some noise and moire reduction processing. After applying an Ektachrome slide film emulation the remaining noise was seamlessly blended into the film grain structure.
Below, I included a 2015 photo of the same scene taken 20 minutes earlier in the day, just before sunset. It’s a great example of the lighting change from just before sunset, to just after – twilight time.
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The east end of Ocean Isle Beach remains undeveloped and retains much of the characteristics of a southeastern US barrier island. This seascape is forever changing, and each time I visit, there is some new to discover . Below is a view of a tidal pool looking from the Intracostal Waterway side of the island back towards the seaward side.
Below is a sunrise view looking east towards Holden Beach, another North Carolina barrier island.
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The temperature and humidity have begun to drop here in North Carolina, a reminder of the waning days of summer and expectations for the new fall season. Before I say goodbye to summer, I have a few more images to share from my recent vacation at Ocean Isle Beach. I hope you enjoy.
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!