Blue Hour : The Magic Moment Between Dark and Light
There is a particular moment of the day when the dying light has not yet given way to darkness, or the dawn has not yet broken the veil of night. It is a magical moment in which the landscape seems wrapped in a muffled and suspended atmosphere in an unreal dimension, and everything, everything, turns blue.
When the sun is below the horizon, before the dawn that heralds the passage from darkness to light, or after sunset, in the twilight that precedes darkness, then the blue hour occurs.
It is a suggestive and exciting chromatic phenomenon: everything is wrapped in soft light, in shades of blue and violet. It lasts only a few minutes, half an hour at the most, but it represents a spectacle of rare beauty.
The blue hour can be interpreted in different keys: from the technical point of view, it represents the ideal condition to highlight color contrasts that otherwise would not be equally visible. But it is also a profound concept, furrowed by a subtle melancholy or a harbinger of shining hopes.
The blue hour is that elusive moment between dreams and awakening, in which everyone can reflect on what has been and desire what will be. It represents an interior space of silence and contemplation, in which to truly feel part of a whole and breathe the vital breath of the universe.
The blue hour is the idea that everything is about to end or, on the contrary, that everything is about to start again. It is photography and poetry, it is dream and reality, it is almost dark that caresses regret, it is almost light that lights up hope.
The blue hour in photography
Technically, during the blue hour, the light is characterized by lower energy and colder temperature.
Photographers are familiar with this phenomenon. For them, the blue hour represents a magical moment, ideal for capturing dreamlike landscapes or portraying urban architecture in order to bring out the contrast between natural and artificial light in the city.
This time-lapse is very beautiful to photograph due to the presence of many shadows, cold and desaturated colors.
It is essential to have a tripod were to fix the camera because the already scarce light tends to fade quickly. Moreover, the laying times are quite long. The shades that can be captured in the blue hour are truly extraordinary, often even more fascinating than those immortalized at sunset.
Blue hour and golden hour
Another magical moment for photography is the golden hour, which coincides with the first and last hours of sunlight. Like the blue hour, even the golden hour occurs twice during the day, in the morning and evening.
In the morning the golden hour is immediately preceded by the blue hour, while in the evening it precedes it. During the golden hour, the warm and intense colors prevail. Both the landscapes and the architectural constructions are wrapped in a soft, almost golden light.
The nuances captured in this time period are particularly bright and emphatic, with shades that turn to orange, red and purple. The shadows are almost non-existent, the lights of the buildings are picturesque, while the bodies of water reflect suggestive chromatic effects.
During the blue hour instead the light creates an almost surreal atmosphere, and the contrasts between complementary colors are accentuated. This particular light, with blue or purple hues, can be used to highlight the contrast with the warm artificial lights of the city , or to capture the stillness of dimly lit buildings that stand out against the intense blue of the sky.
Even the landscapes are particularly appealing. The blue of the sea merges with the color of the sky, while in the mountains the silhouettes of peaks and glaciers take on enchanted contours.
Calculation of the blue hour
The time at which the blue hour occurs and its duration varies depending on the latitude, altitude, season and weather conditions. From us the ideal time to observe it is especially in the months of April and May when the sky is clear, temperatures are mild and twilight is particularly long.
On the web, there is a site that allows us to calculate the exact moment in which the blue hour takes place, both in the morning and in the twilight. Just enter the date and the name of the place where we are, to have extremely reliable forecasts about this extraordinary phenomenon.
Blue hour and nature
The charm of the blue hour lies in being a moment of transition and suspension, a moment in which everything has yet to begin and for this reason, everything seems possible.
Nature seems immobile, oscillating between darkness and light, uncertain whether to turn inward or open up to a new day. It is a moment of waiting, a time bubble in which even animals float hesitantly, almost holding their breath.
Now the sounds emitted by the night birds have ceased, the first gleams of dawn are awaited for other animals to sing new songs. The scent of flowers reaches its maximum intensity. The tension is palpable, the perceptions amplified, the atmosphere almost electric. In this interval saturated with apprehension and full of restless hope, sometimes even our ghosts and our deepest fears seem to come to life.
In the film “Reinette e Mirabelle” by Eric Rohmer, the painter Reinette describes the blue hour with these words:
“It’s not really an hour, it’s just a minute. A little before dawn, there is a minute of silence. The birds of the day are not yet awake and the night birds are already asleep. And here … silence falls. If one day there was the end of the world, it would be in that minute and you know why? Because it is the only moment in which you have the impression that nature stops breathing and this … this is scary “.
The magic of the blue hour
But the blue hour is also the space of fairy tales, the moment when strange creatures take shape, even if only in our imagination.
Blue light bridges reality and fantasy, allowing for incursions into the dream, into the fairytale, into the magic. Gnomes, fairies, elves, elves, bizarre animals and legendary creatures come alive and come to life in this borderland, in the passage between darkness and light.
They emerge from the corollas of the flowers, they slide down from the hats of the mushrooms, they slip from under the stones, they dart between the stalks of grass and the branches of the trees. Imaginary inhabitants of this no man’s land, immediately catapult us into an enchanted world, which at other times would be inaccessible.
And as if by magic, during the blue hour, everything becomes possible.