Landscape photographers (like me) typically favor two periods of beautiful light for outdoor photography: the "golden hour" and the "blue hour." Both are related to sunrise and sunset times, and they are each only about 30 minutes long -- sometimes even shorter -- but for reasons I don't know they are still referred to as "hour."
The so-called "golden hour" happens (a) 20-30 minutes before sunset and (b) 20-30 minutes after sunrise, assuming the sun is not obscured. The low-angle, almost horizontal direct sunlight creates a "warm" (more reddish) and softer (less bright) light than when the sun is higher.
The so-called "blue hour" happens (a) 20-30 minutes after sunset and (b) 20-30 minutes before sunrise, assuming a mostly clear sky. In those periods, the diffused light of the blue sky lights the landscape evenly and casts a soft blue light on everything.
The light of each period creates a different look and a different mood. Here's an example of each:
"Blue Hour" light
"Golden Hour" light
Recently my photo buddy, Alan, and I made a couple of trips to photograph one of our favorite landscapes in the badlands of northwest New Mexico -- Georgia O'Keeffe's "Black Place" -- to capture some "blue hour" and "golden hour" images. We went once at sunrise and once at sunset.
"Blue Hour" pre-dawn:
Blue Hour post-sunset:
Golden Hour pre-sunset:
Golden Hour post-sunrise:
If you would like to see these images (and more) in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.