The Golden Hours

Cape Cornwall  Mark Camp

The Golden Hour is an informal term used mainly by photographers. It doesn't really have an official definition the same as dawn, dusk, and twilight, it just refers to a state of natural light that mainly takes place around sunrise and sunset.

It’s all to do with the angle of the sun’s rays as they travel through the earth’s atmosphere. The lower the angle, the more atmosphere they travel through and the more particles such as water and dust they encounter. This scatters the sun’s blue and violet wavelengths, allowing more of the orange and red light to reach us and giving us glorious sunrises and sunsets.

Dawn at Looe, Cornwall

Where do you get the best sunrises and sunsets in Cornwall?

It probably helps if you are higher up, or have a view of the coast, but to be honest the light can create some wonderful colours anywhere. It’s not all about facing the direction the sun is setting/rising, often the best light and the golden hues are opposite the sun, but if you do want a photo of the sun going down, choose a nice bit of foreground to be in silhouette, like a tree or a engine house.

Land's End Sunset, Cornwall

Some of our favourite locations in Cornwall for sunsets are the beaches and cliffs of the north coast, including places like Wheal Coates at St Agnes or Holywell Bay. Iconic locations such as Land’s End and St Michael’s Mount in the far west always provide stunning backdrops and there’s a reason why St Ives has always been popular with artists, the light is fantastic, whatever time of the day!

Along the south coast, all the small fishing villages can look lovely at dusk with the lights from the cottages reflecting in the water, and east facing harbours such as Mevagissey are well worth visiting in the early morning, as are the twin villages of Cawsand and Kingsand on the Rame Peninsula. Even the centre of Truro can provide golden vista's at the right time of the year.

Truro sunset

Inland, a dawn or dusk walk out to one of Bodmin Moor’s tors will be rewarded by an ancient landscape bathed in an orange glow and a view as far as the eye can see. The natural rock formations, prehistoric standing stones or Victorian mining remains will all vie for your attention, as you try to capture that perfect photograph.

Stowes Hill, Minions, Bodmin Moor

At the end of the day (and the beginning)

It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. If you’re on holiday in Cornwall you should do what you want and if that means getting up when it’s still dark to catch the sunrise, then do it, but nobody’s forcing you! Remember in the summer the sun can rise as early as half past five and the golden hour starts even earlier. What might be a good idea when you get into bed, might not be so interesting when the alarm goes off! But, once you are up and out of the house you forget all that and enjoy Cornwall at it’s best, you have the place to yourself, for an hour or so anyway…

 

...and if you have any nice sunrise/sunset photos, then tag us at #VCGoldenHour