Golden Hour Trail
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Take this hike during the golden hour, close to dawn or dusk. When the Sun is close to the horizon on a sunny day, its light appears warmer and softer. This makes the golden hour, also known as the magical hour, popular with photographers and filmmakers. The sunrises and sunsets in our parks are especially delightful to enjoy. We have curated a hike that will guide you past picturesque views of the hidden nature preserve inside Troy's city limits.
Park Hours: 8 AM- sunset. Please plan your hike accordingly to respect these hours. Follow this link to view sunrise and sunset times.
Tip- If follow the curated path, the last leg of your walk will be going past the pond. There is a spectacular view of the sunset. Keep in mind, once you are on the east side of the pond, it is approximately a 10 minute walk back to the parking lot. Plan accordingly.
Why Is the Light Golden?
When the Sun is just above the horizon, its rays impact the Earth at a low angle and they have to travel through more of the Earth's atmosphere before they reach us. On their way to the Earth's surface, they encounter atmospheric particles such as dust and water droplets, which filter the sunlight, ultimately making it less bright. This process also adds more indirect light to the mix, softening contours and reducing the contrast.
At the same time, the thicker layer of atmosphere that the sunlight has to pass through scatters the blue and violet wavelengths, allowing more light in the orange and red spectrum to reach Earth. This scattering decreases the sunlight's color temperature and makes it take on a golden or reddish hue.
Golden Hour Photography Tips
The golden hour is a great time to shoot any kind of picture, including portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, and still life. To capture the magic of the golden hour in your photos, try following these guidelines:
- Plan ahead: The golden hour is short—too short to start fiddling with your equipment and settings when the light is just right. Use timeanddate.com's Sun Calculator to find out when the Sun will be at just the right angle at your shooting location (click on a row in the table for a solar elevation graph). Make yourself familiar with the destination and turn up with some ideas of the subjects and angles you wish to capture.
- Play around. Experiment with front lighting, backlighting, rim lighting, and perhaps you can catch a flare as the warm sunlight enters your lens.
- Use a wide aperture. The sunlight is not as bright during the golden hour, requiring a larger aperture—unless you are planning a long exposure shot.
- Try increasing the ISO setting. The low light level during the golden hour may require you to try out a higher ISO setting. However, be aware that this may also increase noise.
- Use a tripod. When experimenting with a range of apertures, a tripod will help you keep your images sharp.