I always thought that taking a picture of a nice (Islay) sunset had to be done before the sun actually disappeared behind the horizon. There is however another way to take beautiful sunset pictures... When Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios invited us to a late night photo shoot at Saligo Bay he told me that the best "sunset" pictures can be made after sunset. Mark referred to this as the after glow and in photographic terms the Golden Hour. This Golden Hour can take place an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset, hence the Golden Hour. Most photographers agree that some of the best times of day to take photos are during these hours. I found a very nice description somewhere: "During Golden Hours, the atmosphere is often permeated with breathtaking light that adds ambiance, interest and drama to any scene. There can be spectacular variations of colors and hues ranging from subtle to dramatic during the Golden Hours. Even simple subjects take on an added glow." Sounds good doesn't it? For some reason it never crossed my mind to take pictures during these time periods but that has changed now. Mind you, if you want to try this yourself you need to realise that sunrise on Islay takes place around 4am and the sun sets around 9.15pm in June. That leaves little time to sleep if you want to make the best of these Golden Hours. Visiting Islay outside the summer season is an option if you want to get the most of these conditions. Continue reading......Equipped with our camera's and tripods Mark, Helga, Manuela and myself crossed the dunes at Saligo Bay around 9.30pm on a lovely but cold spring evening, and prepared ourselves to take pictures during this Golden Hour. Mark explained me a few of his "tricks" and one of them is to take pictures with a long exposure, up till 30 seconds, and the aperture on the highest setting (F/32 and up). A tripod is of course absolutely necessary and you have to be careful with the incoming waves! What happens is that you get this beautiful effect of the waves becoming a sort of mist in the picture and the surface of the water looks like velvet. You can see in the pictures what I mean. We took around 30 pictures each and were very happy with the results. When we left Saligo Bay it was completely dark and it felt bitterly cold, but the result was very much worth it and the dram afterwards a nice reward!
Saligo Bay - Ten minutes later than the first picture
Saligo Bay - Another fifteen minutes later and almost dark