When you mention California to anyone the first association certainly will be the Sun. For any photographer that will have a special meaning because different types of light make up unique photographs. Los Angeles is one of my favorite locations for the past years. Why have I mentioned the Sun at the beginning of this article you will find out if you read it to the end!
There is not much modern cities that provide many photographic opportunities because many of them are associated with unique details. Most photographed cities are usually those that have their own history with the unique architecture. There are also cities with residents whose appearance, dress up and customs attract photographers from all corners of our planet. And of course we must point out places where amazing and powerful nature has created some special attractions that are always a challenge for photographers.
Very few super modern cities in the world can compete with the listed photographic opportunities, but if one needs to be separated then it is definitely Los Angeles!
Although history is missing in some sort of way, this does not diminish its photographic value because other photographic opportunities that are provided just leave enough room to set aside some photographic details. Modern buildings, miles of beaches, nature, people from all over the world with their customs, sports and special and unique sport activities, famous locations from various movies just gives so many photographic opportunities that it is very hard to describe within this article. In addition to previous words I would definitely mention a detail that classifies California into one of the top photography sites in the world.
Los Angeles with its geographical position has particular place on the map when it comes to unique light at sunset or the so-called “Golden Hour”!
In simple words, golden hour means the time when the sun is near the horizon. Typically, lighting is softer, more diffuse and warmer in hue. Shadows are relatively non-existent if the sun is below the horizon. When the sun is near or below the horizon, sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish. In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.
“Hour” is used here quite loosely. The character of the lighting is determined by the sun’s altitude, and the time for the sun to move from the horizon to a specified altitude depends on a location’s latitude and the time of year.
In Los Angeles, California, at an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, the sun has an altitude of about 10°–12°. For a location closer to the equator, the altitude is greater (or the time less), and for a location farther from the equator, the altitude is less (or the time greater). For a location sufficiently far from the equator, the sun may not reach an altitude of 10°, and the golden hour lasts for the entire day in certain seasons.
In the middle of the day, the bright overhead sun can create too-bright highlights and darkshadows. The degree to which overexposure can occur varies because different types of film and digital cameras have different dynamic ranges. This harsh-lighting problem is particularly important in portrait photography, where a fill flash is often necessary to balance lighting across the subject’s face or body, filling in strong shadows that are usually considered undesirable.
Because the contrast is less during the golden hour, shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. In landscape photography, the warm color of the low sun is often considered desirable to enhance the colours of the scene.
Options during the “Golden Hour” are innumerable, and I recommend everyone to try with some experiments. Portraits, palm trees on one of the beaches of Los Angeles, downtown or any sporting activity can be just some of the suggestions. When you come home after shooting I am convinced that you will be fascinated. Also, when you show some of the photographs to your friends you’ll see on their surprised faces why this time of day is called “magic hour” or “magic light”.
Picture in this article is only one of many that I made in Los Angeles in those few magical moments – LA Downtown photographed from a helicopter, thanks to my friend Aaron www.airborneimages.com (one of the best pilots I’ve ever flown with). Opportunities in my case were a little different than usual because we were flying above the horizon and doing so we prolonged the “Golden Hour”. If you ever go to California do not miss this time of day, because only then you will understand this article of mine.
Enjoy all the magical moments that photography has to offer!