The “golden hour” is the time of day, on either side of sunrise and sunset, when the colors of the sky are at their most dramatic. But sometimes, an image taken in the cold winter air can be just as intriguing. Over the past year I’ve captured a few winter scenes from around the world that show the difference and calmness the cold air can bring.
Standing on this pier in Glenorchy, New Zealand before 5am was a challenge, but the stillness of the water and eerie floating platform gave this jetty a mysterious look that goes away the second that the sun rises.
The morning fog over Guilin, China, held in place by the rich tapestry of mountains surrounding the Li River attracts hundreds of photographers for sunrise each day. While it’s rare to capture a clear sunrise over the hills, the natural cool blue tones made this shot well worth the trek.
These water-bound willow trees in Lake Wakatipu are some of the most photographed in New Zealand. While most images of them capture the dramatic colours in the water as the sky above changes, the cold morning fog rolling past in the background gave me something more unique in this shot.
Durdle Door, on the South Coast of England is home to many landslides and valuable archaeological finds but it is also a honeypot for sunrise photographers. It was the quietness of the beach, as I stood there alone, with only the moon above that made me want to click the shutter nearly an hour before the sun (and everyone else) arrived.
It’s not all about capturing cold light, of course, through post processing (using a Polopan filter); this jetty over Lake TeAnau in New Zealand became the feature of a shot that was otherwise all about the sky. We’d been waiting for hours for the wind to lower enough to take a long exposure that afternoon, eventually our patience paid off with this shot.
“Cool winter air” is a bit of a struggle when shooting in the Salton Sea, outside of Palm Springs, California. But it’s still possible to find calm blues as this shot of an old set of lake posts, now eroded by the lake, shows when the haze in the distance prevents the separation of sky and water.
What’s a pink sky doing in a shot about “calm blue tones”? Well, in Huvafenfushi, an island in the Maldives, this is about as cool as the temperature (and sky) can go as there is no such thing as winter. A natural sun haven, the scenery is always calm – getting up just before sunrise, however, means you also get the pastel shades and vibrant blues in the water that most people never see.