When I started photography a few years ago, I remember looking at many photographs on the web in search for inspiration. I remember being drawn to and being intrigued by night photography the most, so I started doing research on long exposures. I came across an image of the Las Vegas strip taken during twilight in an Internet forum where photographers discussed about what they called the “blue hour.” I was instantly fascinated by that kind of light.

That time, my camera was an entry-level DSLR, and I had a really portable tripod that barely supports it. Still, I was eager to give blue hour photography a try on my next trip then which was to Milan, Italy.

There I was in the middle of Piazza del Duomo waiting for this fabulous light, equipped with what little knowledge I had. My shots that night were average as expected from a newbie, but I was thrilled with all the blues that showed up on my photos. Ever since then, whenever I went out to shoot, I looked forward when evening was approaching.

My eagerness to shoot at daytime waned as I was shooting more after sunset. I realized I was happiest as a photographer during the late hours of the day. The adrenalin I get during those few precious minutes – about 20 minutes on a clear day – gives me the satisfaction and the confirmation that I am one of those dedicated photographers out to chase the light.

My blue-hour shooting went on until I found myself barely shooting during the day. It got worse when I decided to get up pre-sunrise as well and started shooting morning blue hour – a wonderful discovery I had made when I woke up one morning to shoot sunrise at Piazza San Marco in Venice. Shooting both morning and evening twilight gave me less motivation to shoot in the day as I can justify that my goal has already been reached.

These past few months, when I traveled, I  had quickly adopted a shooting regimen which was : shoot during the morning twilight up to sunrise, have breakfast, go back to bed, get up around noontime to have lunch, and then walk around the city to scout the locations I had previously researched to get ready for my blue-hour shoot that night. This worked quite well for me except that I noticed I don’t take out my camera at all during my walks.

In time I’ve realized that since I do a lot of traveling, it would also be nice to have some sort of written documentation. So far I’ve recorded all the places I’ve been to through thousands of photographs and piles of memory cards. I would now like to record my experiences through this blog, and hopefully, this will also motivate me to take out my camera during the day and utilize it to its full extent.

So there you have it. I will now shoot and write even when it’s not blue.

17 responses

  1. I’ve just discovered you on Flickr and I thought that your approach was really interesting! I’m going to SW France for a month and I’m planning to make it all Rolleiflex TLR pictures (120 film) in black & white and shooting some 2- and 3-frame panoramas, so this will be the first time I’ve taken a tripod with me except when I was traveling by car. It seemed for a while as if it would be too narrow a way to work until I saw your flickr pictures, which convinced me that I was on the right track. BTW, I think it’s refreshing to see such well thought-out travel pictures as yours. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Vic. Have a nice trip in France and hope you come back with great photos. The way I see it, there’s no way around carrying a tripod especially when shooting in low light. It could be a hassle at times, but once you see the results, you know it’s worth it. 🙂

  2. Yen, I think this blog is a better way to present your fantastic Blue Hour Photos to a wider audience than the book I have suggested once before. I wish this side many visitors and look forward to what comes to your lens during the daytime.
    Keep it up!

    • Hi Helmut, I am also hoping this blog will reach a larger audience for me, but at the same time, I’m also planning on tackling a book project this coming year. If you know a good publisher, I’m open to suggestions 🙂 About the daytime shots, I’m working on that. Still hooked on my beloved blue hour, but from time to time, I will “force” myself to remember to shoot at daytime. Thanks for reading my blog and happy shooting to you!

  3. Your shots are awesome! Maybe you can cover more photos of our country next time you visit here…More power and good luck to the NG entry!

  4. Plus one on your Fan Count!

    I am embarrassed to say that I never chased light during the blue hour. Reading you made me cringe inside, and left me itching to try this one. I am not sure if i can even get decent shots, but like what you said, it’s all worth it.

    Continue shooting and chasing light!

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful work Ms. Yen. I’m no photographer, but you are giving me the inspiration that I can do so. I know for sure, one has to have the commitment to do photography, and not to forget – inspiration. I’m a working mom, and I love to travel and take pictures, simple point and shoot. You made me realize that art is already involved in taking pictures.
    Congratulations in advance! I hope you win! God bless you!

  6. Your pictures are crisp and alive. I will be following you from time to time for some inspiration. I am not a photographer but I admire good pictures when I see one. Few of my shots are on Facebook.. I own a Samsung HZ5.?

  7. Congratulations on your win. You have a unique eye. Reminded me of all those art study classes at UP Diliman. Looking forward to seeing your Macchu Picchu photos! Love from the Philippines… Debbie

  8. First, I admit that I really admire the way you have discussed your “Blue Hour”, your traveling blogs and the way you recorded your travel. That moment I read made me inspire a lot and to discover the wonder about it. I was struck to be more inspired by your talent!

    You help me open up my eyes into my love of photography which I have decided to pursue this hobby. As a newbie in this craft, I know I can find my path through the help of your photos and your travel blogs. For me, taking photos during the Blue Hour help me realized how wonderful God created this kind of opportunity.

    The day that you have comment my first Blue Hour photo helped me a lot! Bring this intense deep inside me, keeps me hungry on achieving a great photo and someday I will find my name. Maybe, not really that same as what you have achieved, but as simple step having it on my own. The comment you have made was really a BIG JOY for me. It was a flattering feeling I can’t even describe.

    I want to thank you deep inside my heart, for helping me finding the Blue Hour! The beauty of it really can’t describe!

    Again, congratulations and Be safe always!!!

    Gerzon 🙂

    • Aww, such a nice thing for you to say. I was only trying to help. But you certainly do have talent and you need to share it. I am hoping to see your own masterpieces someday. Like you said, it will start with a small step but hopefully, will turn into a big leap 🙂

      Kamusta nalang sa kababayan natin d’yan sa Kuwait. Salamat, Gerson!

      • Thank you Ms. Yen!

        I am happy again today! Warm thoughts and really one of kind down to earth person you are! That is more reason enough why your Kababayan really loved your personality.

        Your photos reflects what beauty you have inside and outside. Not to mention that you came into a Filipino roots! Glad you are a Filipino with a pure heart of being a Filipina.

        I’m sorry, I let some of my colleagues read your comment for my photo. They are so happy for me too! Well, as what you have said… it all start with a single step! A step I am doing right now. A journey that needs to be guided accordingly with no hesitations to move back!

        Sabi ng iba nating mga Kababayan dito, Proud kami sa iyo Ms. Yen!!!! We are looking forward in meeting you and sharing ideas beyond reach in the future!!!

        Sa akin po ang karangalan Ms. Yen!!! 🙂

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