What is Blue Hour?

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When you see a strong blue tone to photographs, the photographer may have taken advantage of the blue hour. It is the time of day when the sun is just about to set or rise, when the upper part of the sky turns a deep blue, and when the landscape is flooded with blue light. Blue hour is a good time to take pictures of the Moon, because then the Moon’s luminosity is not so bright as in contrast to the sky. This is also a good time to take landscape photos.।

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The blue hour doesn’t even come close to lasting a full hour. In fact, what photographers call Blue Hour actually only lasts 20 minutes. The blue hour usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes just after sunset and just before sunrise. For example, if the sun sets at 5 p.m., the blue hour will last from about 5:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If the sun rises at 5 a.m., the blue hour lasts from about 4:30 a.m. to 4:50 a.m.

The exact timing of the blue hour will vary from location to location and depending on the time of year and air quality.

Blue Hour by Mariana Bukina Roca in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

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Daniel McVay of the Mighty Gore Range’s Blue Hour in Summit County, Colorado

Blue Hour over Silverthorne, Colorado Daniel McVay

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Blue Hour Daniel McVay on the lower Blue River Valley in Summit County, Colorado. The photo was taken in February 2014.

The Blue Hour over the Boethian Sea, Sweden, by Jrgen Norland Andersen

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Blue Hour over the Atlantic Josh Blash in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Bottom line: Blue hour when the sun is below the horizon, when the sky is deep blue and the landscape is full of blue light, is a great time to take pictures.

The Milky Way Over Utah, and a Moonlit Blue Hour

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