Two years ago, I enrolled in an introduction to digital photography course. I felt that I was finally ready to step into the world of DSLR. A friend helped me pick out the best “starter” camera (a Nikon D3200), and I was ready to become a photojournalist extraordinaire. And then reality hit.
There is more to knowing a few basic tools. Understanding how to program the F-stop and ISO is great knowledge. But there is still those things that even those who use a shoebox with a pinhole in it must know: composition, focal point, and lighting. The last one is where I stumble most. I want to be a great landscape photographer, but I just don’t seem to be able to get in tune with the “golden hour.”
The golden hour is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset. According to my instructor, during these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much more flattering than the harsh midday sun. And it’s a time when I rarely seem to have a camera in my hand.
I often see the sunrise–through a slit in my bedroom curtains. And for the next hour afterward, I am most often in a deep discussion with my 19-year old cat over the necessity of my rising to supply her with a can of wet food and a dish of fresh water at the foot of my bed. I will give in, and she knows it. Opportunity for morning photos –lost.
As for the hour before sunset: I have a better chance. But then that would require my actually looking up the projected time for the sun to set.
… And not having a glass of wine with friends after work.