“The Golden Hour” origins

6 02 2009

“The Golden Hour” is an elusive time, one of God’s miracles that happens twice a day, whether we notice or not. Just after sunrise and just before dusk everyday the sun gets low in the sky, making the shadows long and deep, giving definition and a certain quality to the subject that has been sought out by visual artists for centuries. Prior to photography, painters would often set up their easels in these spots in the day, when the light is just right.
As a Director of Photography I, along with everyone else in my trade, am consistently urging clients who want to capture natural beauty of talent, or spectacular exterior scenes, to let us wait for “the golden light” either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. I never knew where the term “golden hour” came from, and still don’t know for sure, but I am a fan of famous quotes and was reading Bartlett’s Famous Quotations when I came across this:

“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” – Horace Mann 1796-1859

I was astounded! It is so succinct, and expresses the feeling I have about sunsets and the “golden hour” to a tee… I just had to share it with you. So the next time your day is tough, life has dealt you a raw deal, wait around for the golden hour, and see how things can change around you.

Richardson sunset