Photo Tips: Clouds or No Clouds? The Golden Hour or Noon?


Would you rather see this scene with no clouds at noon…


Toledo at Noon - Toledo, Spain by Ralph Velasco

It's high noon in Toledo, Spain, in this version.

…or with clouds and photographed during the Golden Hour?


Toledo, Spain during the golden hour - Copyright 2012 Ralph Velasco

Slightly more wide angle version of Toledo, Spain, but this time during the Golden Hour.

Here’s the above version converted to black and white.


Toledo, Spain, During the Golden Hour - Copyright 2012 Ralph Velasco


The first image was made just four hours after the second image, which was photographed during the Golden Hour, that time of day just before, during and after sunrise (as well as sunset).  This morning I looked out the window of my hotel room, saw some interesting clouds and made an effort to get out and take advantage of these wonderful and unpredictable atmospheric conditions.

A few short hours later and the sky was clear of clouds and the sun was high in the sky casting harsh light on the exact same scene making the photo opportunity much less appealing.

Is there any good reason not to be out before the crowds and in the best light of the day photographing your favorite subjects?  Sleep during midday, not during the golden hour, when the best and most glorious photo ops are passing you by.


Join me for a photo tour of Copper Canyon, Mexico this October.  See link for more info and to register.


Ralph Velasco is an Orange County-based photography instructor, international photo tour guide and author who frequently speaks on the topic of travel photography.

He’s an award-winning blogger and creator of the My Shot Lists for Travel app for iPhone.

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