Keira Grant: Capturing the Golden Hour

Photographers love to wax poetically about the fabled “golden hour”. That magical time about one hour before the sun falls bellow the western horizon when the colors turn a brilliant red and gold and the shadows across the ground elongate like a brilliantly lit drama production. I admit I’ve aimed for it myself more than once, but often miss it. The logistics of capturing this one particular period of time can be a nightmare, especially in the Pacific Northwest where we rarely see clear enough skies for the sun to even be a factor.

Sometimes though, we just get lucky. It was a brilliant August evening (we do get sun sometimes…) and I wasn’t scheduled to pick up Keira until five o’clock. We picked a meeting spot deep in south east Portland and about thirty seconds after getting in the car it was clear we were on the same page. “If we hurry we can catch the sunset!” she announced enthusiastically. She was right of course, but we had to hurry. Portland proper may in fact be relatively flat, but the city is surrounded by hills and mountains and the sun has a habit in this town of falling behind them very rapidly.

We drove about an hour until we came across an empty field, pulled the car over to the side of the road, and managed to get in about thirty minutes of picture taking in while the sun rapidly fell to it’s daily resting place behind the west hills. Normally I work fairly slowly, taking my time with individual poses and composing my images with care and patience. On this day I just simply didn’t have that luxury and throwing caution to the wind I let Keira dance about in the brilliant light.