The Magic Of Photography At Twilight

Written by stuestler on May 26th, 2009

(c) 2009 Stu Estler

(c) 2009 Stu Estler

I’ve gotten way behind in updates! First two weeks of rain nearly every day (didn’t know that Washington, DC had a rainy season, did you?) then running like crazy trying to catch up and make the deadline for this project. Now more rain!




While soft, overcast light and even rain can provide an environment for wonderful photographs, the client on this project wants “pretty sunny days and blue skies”. Not unreasonable. The subjects – luxury homes – do tend to look their best in good weather. And clear to partly-clear skies give the most dramatic background for my favorite time of day for photography – twilight.


That magic time between darkness and light gives life to amazing images. The combination of the cool blue fading sunlight and the warm glow of incandescent lights in the buildings make this the prime time for architectural photography.


There are two times of day for this effect – dawn and dusk – though it can be a challenge to convince clients to open their doors to set the interior lights for the shot in the early morning hours. Especially now as we approach mid-summer and the solstice, which means at this latitude the light begins to come up by 5:30am.


The quality of the early morning light is different, too, cooler than the late day light of dusk. Shooting from the beginning light of dawn until sunrise creates dramatic photos, but the favorite twilight time is dusk.


I’m still constantly delighted by the swiftness of the changing light. Exposing minute-by-minute yields a different look in each shot. Just after sunset the daylight is still the dominant light source, yielding even, shadow-less light with just the faintest glow from the artificial lights in and around a building.


As the daylight fades the balance shifts until that magic moment when natural and artificial light balance, creating a warm inviting glow from within against a perfect blue background.


Then – blink! – and it’s over. The natural light disappears and the night takes over. Time for dinner and a glass of wine!

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • MisterWong
  • Y!GG
  • Webnews
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. John says:

    What a gorgeous shot, Stu. I never tire of seeing how you approach you architectural shots and how magnificent you make places look. Not that they aren’t but they look even more fantastic in your hands.

    See the light, Stu. 🙂

Leave a Comment