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South Australian photographer Sarah Petrusma's photography blog. Full of thoughts, ideas & favourite stories


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The Flinders Ranges 2013 Part 2: Magic Hour Portraits

The Magic of Magic Hour


This blog post follows on from my previous post "The Flinders 2013 Part 1", but stands alone as a post on one of my all time favourite things! Magic Hour. You may have heard several photographers talk about Magic Hour, and not been quite so sure what they were talking about. What particular hour of the day is magic? Why is it magic?

As a photographer I have quite a different view on what a "perfect day" is. When you think of a perfect day you normally think warm, clear blue skies with the sun shining brightly above you. But for a photographer, this kind of day can create dull and boring photographs with unflattering shadows. That being said; a horrid gloomy, rainy day is not the greatest thing either! So what is a good day for a photographer? An overcast day is brilliant! The clouds act like one big soft box diffusing the sun and creating beautiful soft light. But when it isn't overcast, a photographer will be looking for a different kind of light. This light is called "Magic Hour", and regardless of a sunny or a rainy day it will always provide beautiful, soft, directional and ambient light.



1 Magic Hour Field.jpg
2 Magic Hour Road Work Sign CK.jpg
3 Magic Hour Farm.jpg
4 Magic Hour Farm House.jpg
5 Magic Hour Flowers.jpg


Magic hour is a time of day, either very early morning just as the sun is beginning to rise. Or in the evening, just before the sun begins to set. This time of day shouldn't be confused with sunrise or sunset, it is the time directly preceding it (or following with sunrise). Sunrise and sunset are gorgeous, but don't light a subject well. When the sun is low in the sky (but not yet set) it creates very soft, and very directional light. In landscapes this means long shadows that show more detail in the scenery. And in portraits this means very soft, even light that doesn't cast unflattering shadows. The photos will have a warm glow to them, they feel magic, the light looks magic. It's a magic time of day to be capturing beautiful light that shows off every flattering angle of whatever subject you're photographing.



6 Magic Hour CK.jpg
7 Magic Hour Portrait.jpg
8 Magic Hour Portrait.jpg
9 Magic Hour Portrait Tree.jpg


In the Flinders we had to move fast to capture this light! The hills were high and the sun set quickly, we had hoped to make it to the top of a nearby hill. But a mere 10 minutes into our walk we realised we wouldn't make it there in time. So, we back-tracked to a HUGE magnificent tree with a character all its own to compliment the beautiful character of Magic Hour. A nearby sheering shed also provided a beautiful textured backdrop to accentuate Maite's feminine face.



10 Magic Hour Portrait Watm.jpg
13 Magic Hour portrait.jpg
11 Magic Hour Portrait black & white.jpg
16 magic hour portrait shed.jpg
12 Magic Hour portrait black and white.jpg
18 magic hour portrait shed black and white.jpg


I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my Flinders photography post! The final part 3 will cover our last day in the Flinders, shots of an old farm house ruin and the local steam train in Quorn. In contrast to this post these photographs were all shot on a bright and sunny day with not a cloud in the sky!

Thanks for reading!

Read Part 1 Here
Read Part 3 Here