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Evening twilight on the Black River in eastern North Carolina. Reflections work wonderfully for twilight photos.
Evening twilight on the Black River in eastern North Carolina. To get this shot, I stood waist deep in the river,
being very careful to remain still and not cause any ripples.
Bodie Island Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Structures such
and bridges make great subjects to silhouette against a twilight sky.
Bodie Island Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Bodie Island Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
An old tugboat rests in picturesque decay on the Cape Fear River at Wilmington, North Carolina.
I photographed this boat over ten years ago. Today, it is little more than a pile of rotten wood.
Crepuscular rays and the crescent moon illuminate the sky in this view from the Blue Ridge Parkway."Crepuscular"
means "pertaining to twilight", so crepuscular rays are sunrays that you see when the sun is below the horizon.
This view of crepuscular rays is from Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina. The rays don't appear this
vivid to the eye, but they record very well in the camera.
If you can see them at all,
you can be sure that
they will look good in the photo.
Another view of crepuscular rays and the crescent moon illuminating the sky above the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Anticrepuscular rays are seldom seen this vividly. Unlike crepuscular rays, anticrepuscular rays occur opposite the setting or rising sun. The pink rays are being illuminated by the sun, which is below the horizon behind me.
The blue band below the rays is Earth's shadow.
During twilight, the illumination from artificial lights closely matches the intensity of light in the sky so you can capture scenes like this in one exposure. Carnivals and county fairs provide a wealth of good subject matter for twilight shooting.
Statute of James B. Duke on the grounds of Duke Chapel at Duke University. The advantage of shooting during twilight is twofold: That's when the light is best and that's when the college students are sleeping! The planet Venus hangs in the sky above the statue. Planets are great to photograph because they are often bright enough to show up well in twilight skies.
I photographed this scene on the same morning as the previous photo. This is a covered walkway leading to Duke Chapel. While I easily could have captured the background in one frame, the only way to get good exposure on the archways was HDR. This is a blend of five bracketed exposures.
When shooting mirror reflections, I often center the horizon, as in this shot from eastern North Carolina.
The planet Venus shines in the very early twilight sky over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Even though the sky is still dark and you can't see any orange or purple hues of twilight, the sky is still helping the exposure immensely. If I had shot 20 minutes earlier, a good exposure for the lights along the canal would have resulted in a black sky.
To create this shot of car light streaks on Grandfather Mountain, I set up my tripod and shot one frame during twilight. I left the tripod set up and returned after it was fully dark and set the camera to shoot continuous four-minute exposures at f/11 and ISO 200. Then I opened the shutter and drove my truck back and forth along the curves for thirty minutes, making seven exposures. In Photoshop, I stacked all the frames (except one that showed the headlights too bright) and changed the blend mode to Lighten, which allowed all the light streaks to show through.
The antitwilight arch and Earth's shadow. The pick portion is the antitwilight arch or twilight wedge, and is the sky being illuminated by the sun, which is below the horizon behind me. The blue band is the portion of sky being blocked by Earth, and is therefore called Earth's shadow. As the sun sets lower in the evening, the line between the antitwilight arch and Earth's shadow rises higher and becomes less distinct. The opposite occurs in the morning. This phenomena is best seen on very clear days and when you have a good line of sight to the horizon. If used properly, a polarizing filter can enhance the colors, but if you rotate it too much you'll wipe them out.
In the previous photo we see the antitwilight arch and Earth's shadow in the eastern sky after sunset.
Here, we are looking due west just before sunrise.
Shooting during twilight allowed me to capture the Manhattan Bridge and New York City skyline
in one frame because the lights in the city closely match the illumination in the twilight sky.
As with the previous photo, this shot of the New York City skyline is a single exposure.
In this shot of the Mast General Store in western North Carolina, I used my "Tacoma Light" to augment the lighting on the front of the building. The Tacoma Light is my pickup truck and it works very well to throw a lot of light. The long exposure required to shoot this scene at twilight allowed me to capture the car lights from people on their way to work.
Photos like this are remarkable easy to make. Simply set up on a divided-highway overpass and shoot during twilight. It helps to have something interesting on the horizon, such as a city skyline or mountain range. I easily could have gotten a good exposure in a single frame, but in this case I shot two frames and blended them so I could capture more light streaks.
As with calm water, snow and ice make great subjects for twilight shooting because they reflect a lot
of the light and take on the colors of the sky.
The Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain silhouetted against the twilight sky.
Graphic structures such as the bridge in the previous photo and the 26-meter radio telescope
in this image make great subjects for silhouettes.
A closer view of the radio telescope shows the enormous tracking mechanism as a stark silhouette.
As with most of my night photography, I visualized this image long before shooting it. I planned out
everything in daylight and returned at twilight to get the shot.
A closer view of the whelk shells in the previous photo.
During the day, this renovated old cotton mill has little aesthetic appeal, but twilight has the ability to make
most everything look better.
Snow geese fill the dawn twilight sky.
Even if it's cloudy, it's better to shoot street scenes during twilight. Often, as in this case,
the clouds are not so thick that they block out all of the twilight filtering through.
Venus and the crescent moon share the twilight sky. Remember, shots like this should be planned ahead. Learn about the night sky and use a chart or smart phone app so you always know when and where the moon and planets will be in the sky. In this case, the crescent moon was so thin and faint that it was visible for only a few minutes when the sky became dark enough. A couple minutes after I shot this, it sank below the horizon. Without using a moon chart, I wouldn't have known to be ready with my camera set up.
As with nearly every night photo I shoot, I had this shot planned out during the day. I knew Venus and Jupiter would be shining in the twilight sky, but I also knew that a shot of them isolated against the sky would not work. I knew this old lighthouse keeper's house would make an ideal foreground, so I asked the caretakers to turn the lights on for me. This image simply would not work if the house were a total silhouette.
I return to this tree often when something exciting is going on. Here, Venus, Saturn, and Mercury are shining in the dawn twilight sky. Interestingly, Mercury is brightest of the three, a condition that occurs only during certain times. Using a chart of the planets, I knew exactly where and when they would appear, so it was just a matter of being there at the right time.
You don't have to shoot the big-city skylines to make good photos. This is Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a
mid-size city with nothing particularly outstanding about it. Most any building the projects into the sky will look good at twilight.
This reenactment statue at the Wright Brothers Memorial on North Carolina's Outer Banks was unveiled
during the 100-year anniversary of the famous First Flight in 2003.