1 February 2015

Photography is my hobby, but a demanding job, two small children, and a marriage don’t leave much time for it.

So, I make more time; I get up before dawn on most Sundays, and head out somewhere local for an hour or two of photography before the rest of the family wake up.

The up-sides?

And the down-sides?

In the same vein, when I travel for work, my days and early evenings are typically pretty-much booked. Again, I get up before dawn and head out of the hotel for an hour of photography before breakfast.


How do I know how early to get up? I typically aim to arrive about half an hour before sunrise or perhaps a little earlier. The weather app on my phone tells me when the sun rises.

An alternative would be to check the on-line calculator at the Blue Hour Site.


I live in Mexico City, so I go to the old villages that have now been enveloped by the city, to parks, to markets, and to stations. You’ll have to adapt to what’s close enough to you.


I tend to start with cityscapes and architecture, using a tripod, and then people once the light brightens enough to allow short enough exposures.


I shoot with a compact camera, and keep the ISO low to squeeze as much image quality as can out of it. That means my exposure times early in the morning are often up around a second, and I need to use a tripod. With a larger sensor (say MFT or APS-C), an f/2 lens, and a higher ISO, you might get away without a tripod once the sun rises. However, if you’re going to shoot in the blue hour, you too will probably need a tripod.

I’d recommend something light, of good quality, substantial enough for your kit, and with a quick-release plate.

I don’t bother with a remote shutter release; I just use a 2-seconds shutter delay.

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© 2015 Alan WF.