Sunrise and sunset. Capture the Magic Hour with your SJCAM!

Sunrise and sunset.

In most places, it happens twice per day, and most of the times we take it for granted. But, at some points in our lives we’ve all stared in awe towards the horizon, at that wonderful time between dusk and dawn, between daytime and nighttime. The sunrise, and the sunset.

It’s when natures throws us an astounding array of colors from the sky to the ground and the whole visual world changes dramatically every single minute.
Clouds in the distance look like giant popcorn gloriously buttered in sunshine. The landscape is showered in bright orange one moment, and a subdued yellow the next.
Then a barrage of hues dance in the sky like a magical lightshow for all the world to see.

Those particular moments have names: “Magic Hour,” “Golden Hour,” and “Blue Hour.”
Well, it’s not really restricted to 60 minutes, some places around the globe have it longer, and some, shorter.

Magic Hour – Photo by Franz Wilfred Acaylar using SJ4000 WiFi

You can capture these moments with your SJCAM, it’s not really rocket science, but you will need to know some things before you can get it right. Most importantly: White Balance (AWB options in the menus) and Exposure Value. There are plenty of other things, but for now start with these two.
Since the lighting conditions change drastically from one moment to the next, there is not a single perfect general setting that exists that we can tell you so that it will work throughout this wonderful time. Experimentation is key. And you have roughly about an hour to do so.

Some tips:
Aside from a stable tripod, the other thing that you will need is your artistic eye.
Always shoot in the largest possible resolution you can.
Shoot in RAW if your camera model has the feature. You won’t regret it when you’re post-processing.
Turn down Exposure Value (EV) several notches. If it’s too bright, the colors will be washed out.


The Magic Hour, AKA: Golden Hour, is that moment in the sunrise or sunset when the atmosphere is thicker where the viewer is in relation to the sun’s position, all the light from the sun is scattered gorgeously soft in all directions, as opposed to the harsh strong lights of noontime. There’s also a specific moment in it that gives you that beautiful sepia-like tone as if everything is enveloped in shimmering gold.

Golden Hour – Photo by Alfie Gado, using SJCAM X1000The atmosphere creates this prism effect where white light is refracted along the curvature of the Earth. Watch for the explosion of soothingly hypnotic colors in the sky, a somewhat-intoxicating cocktail mix of purples, pinks, greens, and every single color in the visible spectrum.

At sunset, try to capture sunrays before the sun dips into the horizon, as the moment transforms into “Blue Hour,” where the thickness of the atmosphere plays around with the sunlight, as its last hurrah of the day, reflecting all the blues in the sky all over the place, and all the reds are concentrated on that teenie bit where the sun used to be. Set the exposure compensation higher towards the end (for sunrise, just do the opposite).

You have to hurry though, it all ends very quickly. Get as many pictures of this twice-daily event as you possibly can. And don’t forget to show us your majestic sunrise/sunset work. Who knows, your photo might get featured and get something.


Featured image was taken by Marcelos S Ferreira