How to capture “Golden Light”

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.3, 1/30

While most people are facing towards the sunset on the beaches of Hawaii, I like to turn around 180º and face the beach.

Guess what you will find?

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/4.5, 1/25

You will find the Golden Light that you often hear National Geographic Photographers talk about. I just love this warm light for portraits.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/4.5, 1/40

Now to the naked eye it was a lot darker than it appears in these photos. The sun had set and was just below the horizon.

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1000, ƒ/2.8, 1/25

Here I captured the look back towards the sun. All these photos are taken within a 5–minute window of time.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 8000, ƒ/4.5, 1/100

How do you capture this light? Well while you see this sunset just turn around and the Golden Light is everywhere you see. I think it looks best by having subjects not quite looking straight at the sunset. Have them turn slightly 45º to 90º to the light. If you have the camera 90º to the sunset then you have some of the most beautiful light I know of capturing.

I think it beats window light. By the way if you don’t want to stay up for the sunset you can get up early and capture the sunrise and get similar results.