The best light of the year… it’s here

landscape, golden light, prairie, frost, snow, winter, cold, alberta, dan jurak, fence, farm, sunrise, dawn,

A lot of people who live as far north as I do are not fans of six months of winter. It does get to be a bit much even though it makes for great photo opportunities. Snow is like makeup for the landscape. It can take an average looking place and dress it up to the nines.

A few years ago I was out on my usual photo jaunt outside of Edmonton. During that day and the following one of the headlines in the local news was that we were the second coldest spot on earth.

When it gets that cold everything is affected. Even the tires on your vehicle will remember the flat spot that they are sitting on and when you start to drive they will bump, bump, bump for a few minutes until they warm up and return to their round shape.

After a few minutes of being outside, a heavy coat of frost was covering my moustache and even my eye lashes had pieces of ice forming on them. It’s funny though, if you dress for it you can be very comfortable when it gets to -37 Celsius and that was with NO wind.

I was up as usual on that morning before the sun which if memory serves me was around 8:30 a.m. Twenty five minutes of driving and before long the sun started to rise over a thick ice fog that was hanging just above the ground. When it gets this cold we don’t always get a real fog but its more like ice crystals suspended in the air.

I had a great time taking photos, getting back into my vehicle to warm up, driving a few hundred meters and repeating the whole process.

The whole time that I was taking pictures the sun clung close to the horizon. It was then that I realized that two hours had passed and the sun was now just getting too high for me to take pics.

That was almost TWO HOURS of the lovely, low light that I love. The same thing applies to the evening. Two hours in the morning and two in the evening.

The best part of this was that it wasn’t yet the shortest day of the year.

For the next seven or eight weeks those of us who live at the higher latitudes will be blessed with a very special light. The farther north you live the longer and lower the golden light will be.

Near the horizon sunrises and sunsets happen very quickly. The sun rises almost vertically into the sky and poof its done. This far north we can luxuriate in the golden hours. Make sure to get out and dress warmly.

Happy shooting,


~ by Dan Jurak on November 29, 2018.

4 Responses to “The best light of the year… it’s here”

  1. Brrr! This beautiful photo by itself is enough to me makes me shiver.

  2. Thanks Khürt!

  3. Stunning photo!

  4. Thank you.

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