Thursday, June 4, 2015

You Can Do Magic

by Judy

Have you ever sat amazed and intrigued as a magician makes things disappear and reappear?  As ropes are knotted and cut, only to be whole again?  As cards are shuffled and chosen, to then be found inside your purse, or under an audience member's seat?  We tend to say, "how did they do that?"   

A magician performs magic by using smoke and mirrors, distractions and sleight of hand.  You can perform magic too.  All you need is a camera and the golden hour.  

Kelly wrote on our Monthly Focus page, "the golden hour is when the magic happens." I agree! As photographers we all chase the light, knowing that light is a crucial element in our photos.  The light during the 'golden hour' is soft and warm, which adds dimension to our photos.  It is truly magical, and shooting during the golden hour (which, by the way, is many times called the magic hour) will give your photos a magical, warm quality to them.  

The photo above is of a field of weeds.  Yes, weeds. ( and maybe a few wild flowers thrown in there.) Even though my subject matter was nothing special, the photo above looks as if I've found a field of gold.  This was taken during the golden hour, just before sunset. The sun is low in the sky at this time, and by getting down low and shooting into the sun, I was able to capture this intense golden glow.  

I also love to use the low, soft light of the golden hour to capture rim lighting.  Again, the low angle of the sun, getting positioned at eye level with my subject, and shooting into the sun, allowed me to capture this golden glow, and create a rim of light on my subject. 

When I shoot during the golden hour(s) I've learned a few tricks. First, I set my camera to "cloudy." Without using this setting, my camera always adjusted the lighting - neutralizing all of that magical glow to a boring white light.  I found that the "cloudy" setting tricked my camera and I was able to capture the look and feel that I wanted.  

Second, I always shoot wide open to create yummy golden bokeh. 

And finally, I don't stop shooting! Seriously.  Just as with a sunrise or sunset, the light is changing quickly and you can capture the same subject with very different looks from one minute to the next.  

I am so excited about this month's theme!  I can't wait to see all of your stunning photos appear in our flickr stream and on Instagram.  Remember, there's two golden hours!  One is that hour(ish) of time right after sunrise, and the other is that hour(ish) of time right before sunset. You choose, or try both, but please be sure to share your photos with us!  Have fun! 


Jeanne said...

Such beauty right in front of our eyes, and your use of the golden hour is lovely

Anonymous said...

Great post, Judy! Im so not a morning person, so my golden hour has to be in the evening lol! I really need to work on this, as I have a tendency to go out around high noon to photograph something. And your so right about the cloudy setting being the best choice for that golden hue! Your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Dotti said...

Beautiful tones in your breathtaking photos! And I love the hint about changing the white balance to cloudy. I'll need to figure out a way to remind myself to change it back when I'm done! It also makes me wonder if I shouldn't experiment with white balance adjustments in other situations just to see what kind of magic might come tumbling out of my camera.

terriporter said...

Amazingly magic photos, Judy! And such a great tip about using the Cloudy white balance setting. This time of year, I'm with Susan. The morning golden hour just comes too early! But the setting desert sun creates the perfect golden light and I need to forget about the heat and get out there and capture some of it. This is going to be a fun (and magic) month!

Roxi Hardegree said...

These both make me drool!

kelly said...

oh my goodness judy these are magical photos indeed. so excited about all the wonderful golden hour photos this month!!

Susan Licht said...

What stunning images, Judy! I love that golden glow..and thanks so much for the tip on changing the white balance, will give it a try.

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