Photography: The golden hours

June 21st is summer solstice, the day of the year when dawn and dusk linger the longest, which makes it the best time to make use of the "golden hours".

There are two golden hours every day of the year. The morning hour starts just before sunrise; the evening is the last hour before sunset.

What makes these times of day, sometimes referred to as "magic hours", so exceptional? For the most part it's the light that becomes richer and more vivid the further we are from midday.

Golden Hours in Grasse by Catherine MachariaPhoto by Catherine Macharia

Also, long and mysterious shadows cast shapes across the ground, landscapes, walls and faces and the sky is usually more defined as the rising or setting sun skims the clouds. A cloudless sky isn't bleached out by summer midday haze.

Golden Hours in Tourrettes-sur-Loup by Mike MeadePhoto by Mike Meade

Entire books and websites have been devoted to photos taken at these hours.

The luminous Riviera is the perfect place to try taking pictures at these moments of day. If you need some inspiration do a Google image search for "photography golden hour".