Most outdoor photographers understand that mid-day light is one of the worst times to shoot. That’s because at this time of day illumination tends to be harsh—thereby resulting in boring, unimpressive results. And this holds true whether you’re photographing landscapes, wildlife, and even environmental portraits.

It’s for this reason that experienced landscape photographers strive to shoot at Blue Hour as the sun is about to rise, or at Golden Hour when it slides below the horizon. This episode from landscape pro Christian Irmler is all about the former, revealing why waiting patiently for the pink stripe to appear will imbue your images with a very compelling effect.

Careful timing and solid preparation go along way with all sorts of photography, but it’s perhaps most important when capturing landscapes early and late in the day. This means awaking long before dawn is a big part of the equation. The ability to work quicky as the fleeting moment appears is also an important part of the game.

In today’s behind-scenes lesson you’ll watch Irmler on location in the dark preparing to capture the elusive pink glow when Blue Hour begins to unfold. What Irmler calls the pink stripe is a phenomenon Homer immortalized in The Odyssey with the phrase “rosy fingered dawn,” and it is indeed an impressive sight often observed at sunrise.

As Irmler trudges through the landscape in the dark, wearing a headlamp amidst 18° temperatures, he offers a few suggestions for predicting when Blue hour and hopefully the pink stripe will occur so you’re set up and ready to go. Pre-scouting a location during the day really helps because that way you can already have an effective composition in mind at the moment the event occurs.

Irmler shoots a few test exposures at the first hint of impending dawn, so that he’s prepared to quickly refine camera settings at when it’s time to snap the shutter. He also discusses the lenses he relies upon to get the job done, and several technical matters that will improve your odds of success.

You can look at a complete list of Irmler’s preferred equipment using a link beneath the video, where you’ll find another link to the weather maps mentioned in the video. So take a close look, pull out a headlamp and your cold-weather apparel, set the timer on your coffee pot and the alarm on your clock, and awake early enough to capture your best Blue Hour photos ever.

You can find more inspiring landscape photography lessons on Irmler’s instructional YouTube channel, so be sure to do that after you return home and warm up.

We also suggest watching a tutorial we posted previously in which another accomplished pro reveals five plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop that he “can’t live without” and how to use them.

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