The golden hour in photography refers to the first and last hour of sunlight during the day, when the light is just perfect for a spectacular shot. During the golden hour, the warm colors of the sun enhance the colors of any scene. In particular, they can cast beautiful, glowing shades of gold and blue onto expansive landscapes and cityscapes.
Recently, National Geographic asked its Your Shot community to submit their best photos taken during the magical time of day. Inside their latest gallery, Golden Hour, you’ll find these awe-inspiring images. Here are some of our favorites.
Above: Montparnasse, Paris
Magic hour in the streets of Paris. Montparnasse, Ile-de-France, France.
Photograph by Mathieu Dupuis
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge, just before sunrise
Photograph by Michael Bennett
Mount Baker, Washington
After three days of snowstorms on Mount Baker in Washington State, I snowshoed through thigh-deep snow to get this pristine view of Mount Shuksan at sunrise.
Photograph by Joel Brady-Power
The picturesque Oia village is located on a sheer cliff on the northern tip of the volcanic Santorini island in Greece. It is famous for its architecture and sunset views.
Photograph by Raymond Choo
Vltava River, Prague
Frosty morning in Prague. Silhouette of swans on Vltava River in mystery fog.
Photograph by Jaromir Chalabala
This is any photographer’s regular spot for sunrise but I took a bet with sunset and it worked out pretty well. The timing had to be just right. I waited for the sun to disappear behind the peak of Matterhorn, and the colors started to become warm and just about enough for me to capture this shot of the Riffelsee Lake with Matterhorn and the surroundings in the reflections of the lake.
Photograph by Nan Li Toh
Monument Valley, Utah
Sunset provides magical light for less than five minutes on the Diné deities.
Photograph by Mark Donougher
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Acacia tree and gnus grazing in the sunrise at Masai Mara reserve in Kenya
Photograph by Florentina Tilvic
Klyuchevskoy volcano eruption as seen in the morning, when first sunlight touches smoke from the crater. Kamchatka, Russia, September 2013.
Photograph by Sergiy Kadulin
Rodna, Bistrița-Năsăud, Romania
Photograph by Lazar Ovidiu
Don’t forget to submit your photos to the Your Shot photo community to possibly get featured on their website and magazine!