What Is Blue Hour Photograph
Many have heard of golden hour photography, but fewer have heard of blue hour photography. The blue hour is a wonderful time for photography, especially when photographing cities.
So why do so many photographers pack up and go home after sunset?
When Is Blue Hour?
The sun has dipped a certain amount below the horizon. The sky picks up a cool, crisp blue colour before it gets too dark or what we refer to as night.
If it is a clear day, it wouldn’t be unusual to also see some pink/red color near the horizon line as well. A night sky is darker and occurs after the blue hour and is very different.
But whilst it’s called the blue hour, it doesn’t actually last an hour. In fact, on average, it lasts around 20 to 40 minutes but can be even shorter.
Exactly how long the blue hour lasts on any given day will vary depending on the season and where you are in the world. The good news is that there are a ton of that give you information on blue hour quickly and easily.
Plan Your Blue Hour Photography Shoot
The downside of blue hour photography is that you only have a short window to capture your images. So unless you are prepared, you may end up missing the shot you wanted to take.
As with any photo shoot, planning is vital. Your starting point should be what you are actually going to photograph.
Once you know what you are going to be photographing, you can begin to plot a few shot locations on a map. Using Maps street view, you can check your location to ensure that your view isn’t going to be obstructed.
You can also check that there is actually going to be some where for you to be able to take the photo from. It’s disappointing to go to a location only to find when you get there that it involves standing on train lines.
You are not going to have time to travel vast distances, so keep your shot locations to a few around the same place.
Don’t forget to also check and make a note of the time that blue hour will occur on that day. Apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris give valuable information like the direction of light at different times of the day.
Essential Gear for Blue Hour Photography
The one vital piece of equipment you will need for blue hour photography will be a tripod. You will not be able to hold the camera steady enough to capture sharp photos at slow shutter speeds.
For anything below 1/100 of a second shutter speed, I will use a tripod if possible. The slowest shutter speed I would try to handhold a camera would be 1/60 of a second At slow shutter speeds, even the smallest movement will cause camera shake. This will make your photo look blurred.
The only way around this will be to raise your ISO setting, which will, in turn, mean more noise in your photos. So if you want to capture the best possible blue hour photograph, make sure you pack your tripod.
Another item which you may find useful for blue hour photography is a remote shutter release. This means that you won’t have to touch the camera when taking a photo. This again reduces the chance of camera shake.
If you don’t have a remote shutter release, fear not as you can set your camera on a timer. When you press the shutter button, it will wait a couple of seconds before a photo is taken.
Other than a tripod and a remote shutter release you won’t need anything else. Remember that long exposure photography uses more battery power, so pack spares.