It's Week #40:
Blue Hour

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AnchorWeek 40: Blue Hour


Photo by: Ana Rodrigues –  Week 3: Greetings from.. (2016)

The blue hour, a not-so-distant cousin of the golden hour, is a specific time of day when the light in air is a beautiful blue. And once you see it, you’ll always see it. It takes place just before the golden hour/sunrise in the morning and just after the golden hour/sunset in the evening and will last from 20 minutes up to an hour (and change). The duration of this magical window of light depends on the altitude and the season.

The blue hour is however much more than merely the gorgeous blue-ish tint of the sky. It is that time in the evening where (hopefully) most of us are at home and have to switch on our (artificial) lights. This orange and yellow light spills out of windows and doors, and perfectly “complements” the blue color in the atmosphere which can create a cozy, comforting, “home” look of to a scene.

Little does one know, that for young parents, beyond those windows lies the witching hour with hungry and tired small children who still need a bath. Maybe the blue hour actually belongs to pensioners sitting quietly on a porch under a darkening sky with no reason to go indoors. Or photographers who participate in crazy photo challenges?

This week, creative Framers, the blue hour belongs to you; show us this peaceful start or end of the day.


Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Check when it it the blue hour in your area with this handy app. Remember that the ‘richest’ blues will be on the opposite side of the sun’s location.
  • Choose your subject before this short timeslot. Because the sky creates such a beautiful backdrop, blue hour photography is very suitable for landscapes or cityscapes. But also awesome portraits.
  • The light levels are low during the blue hour, so best to use a tripod or rest your camera on a flat surface and use a slow shutter speed. If your camera can handle it, you can use a higher ISO (be aware of the “noise”/grain though).
  • Light sources such as street lamps or headlights often ‘star’ ..:) in blue hour photography. This starburst effect is created when using a small aperture/high f-stop number (Fun geek fact: You can tell how many “blades” an aperture has by how many rays the star emits).
  • Understanding the golden hour, the blue hour and the twilights. A bit of a techie read but interesting and informative.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our Greetings from.. album of 2016 where the “blue hour” was the extra credit challenge, the Sunset challenge from 2011 and the “5:00” challenge from 2015 where “5 am” was the extra challenge. And of course, the Googles! Oh, you sweet Googles.


  • Extra Credit: Night to day

    For some extra credit joojoo, set up a tripod and capture an advanced composite of an entire day, into a single image. Check out the googles for some great examples of this. It is definitely a good idea to plan this photo shoot before time!


Photo credit: Josh Zlotnick – Week 34: Three (2013)


Remember, it is not necessary to keep this
Extra Credit challenge in mind while shooting.
It’s extra credit!

*Please note!! You can only submit ONE photo per
week, for the week’s challenge. This photo can include the “Extra Credit” part of the challenge or the
“regular” challenge, but you can never submit
more than one photo!

Past Challenges 2016

Past Challenges - 2015