It’s All About The Light
I was in New York City recently, preparing for an upcoming trip where I will be the photographer for a group of company employees who will be going to Wall Street to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. The short trip is action packed and every move has been carefully choreographed to ensure the maximum “bang for the buck” and photo opps. As a photographer it’s essential to know where you will be and at what time of day so you can plan for the type of light that will be available in each location.
I shot a series of photos of the Chrysler building that was prominent in the skyline view from our hotel. The photos from our sight inspection trip will later be used for a variety of items. In this case, I chose this photo to be used for the luggage tags that will be sent to each of the trip’s participants.As I was preparing the photo for print, my art director asked what kind of filter I had applied to the image to make it appear the way this image looks. I started to explain that I had not used any filters and that the way the building looked was merely a result of the lighting at that time of day. Photographers refer to the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset as Golden Hour. It is a matter of science. At those times of the day, the sun is very low to the horizon and therefore the light is shining through much more of the earth’s atmosphere than it is when the sun is directly overhead. The atmosphere is full of various particles of water, smoke, fog and other pollutants. All of those particles diffuse the light from the sun and cause the sun to appear to be much larger than it actually is. It also casts an amazing golden light which photographers have named Golden Hour.
The same building shot from the same location but during mid-day looks more like the building usually looks. The difference in the two photos was nothing more than the time of day causing very different lighting. No Photoshop magic or special filters. The top of the Chrysler Building is mostly glass and reflective material to help illuminate the famous lights in its “crown.” When the sun hits the building at just the right time of day, the entire building takes on an amazing golden glow.
What do you think? Do you prefer the photo as it is typically seen during the day, or the photo taken during Golden Hour?