Photographs in the Blue Hour
Another dusk shot from New York City – this time high above the streets of Midtown Manhattan, looking north east. The last glow of the embers of the sunset to my left is visible reflected in the buildings facing west. This transition from ambient to artificial lighting – when ambient light in the sky is in the same register as the city lights – is called crossover lighting. It only lasts a few minutes: shoot too early and the city lights are overpowered by the light in the sky; too late and the sky has faded to black. Light levels fall very quickly, and it is necessary to meter the exposure frequently. Many photographers pack up once the sun has dipped below the horizon, but this time – the ‘blue hour‘ – is one of my favourite times to photograph both cityscapes and landscapes. When everyone else has headed home or is with friends at the restaurant, the bar, or the show, and you are still huddled over your tripod on a windy rooftop, fumbling with your gear in the dark as the temperature plummets, it is tempting to pack up and follow suit. However shooting at this time can produce an aesthetic which cannot be achieved any other way, and which I find magical and worth waiting for.