What is it about the “magic hour” that’s so engaging to the photographer of architecture and interiors? That special time just after the sun has set when the sky starts gathering those velvet tones of deep purple and indigo and the sharp edges of exterior architectural features become muted. The eye no longer sees surface details as they had appeared before in the bright tropical sunlight. But now, elements within a structure become visible; the eye’s not blinded by the intensity of sunlight which makes any interior view impossibly dark and invisible. “What’s going on inside that space”, one wonders? And slowly, bit-by-bit as the sky darkens, a balance is achieved, and you’re answered. You can see both the exterior and interior with almost equal clarity.

The effect is dramatic. Especially now, the tonality of the two areas, the exterior and interior is radically different. That’s natural. The cool tone (high color temperature) of the exterior which is lighted by the purple/indigo sky sets itself apart from the interior which in days past was lighted by “warm” incandescent fixtures. Note: today’s LED sources can mimic that “incandescent” inviting warm tone. The warm (low color temperature) light that emanates from the interior is dramatically different from the cool exterior light. Except for that color difference, the light intensity of the two areas gradually becomes equal. That now allows us to see detail in both realms. But the tension, the dramatic effect between the two areas is the product of the great difference in color temperature between them. That’s what the photographer captures in creating this dramatic scene.

In my title to this blog, I called our favored time “dusk”. But it can as easily be pre-dawn. The same conditions prevail. You just have to get set up early enough to be there when it happens. So basically the photographer gets two chances in each day to take advantage of that special light. In the typical shoot schedule, especially in the tropical summer when days are long and nights short, the shoot day can end late with an 8:30PM sunset; and can start early with a 6:30AM sunrise. It can make a photographer’s day very long indeed with very little sleep (especially if he’s got some night shots planned).

But it’s well worth it. The resulting views are inimitable and cannot be done any other way. Here are a few examples of that kind of shot.

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Here We Go!

Dan Forer headshot

Well, it’s high time I started blogging again. And now I’ve got a topic to deal with that’s been on my mind for some time. It’s my old and stale website. Things have changed radically since the time I first engaged an expert to build a website for me.

So many new devices out there that folks use to research and investigate resources for their photography needs. So I’m looking through my portfolio to find fresh examples to show off my skills.  As I look over my recent digital work and compare it with my years of film, I’m impressed by the fact that it’s not the medium you work with but the imagination you bring to the assignment. I bring an eye for composition and I capture the importance of light in a scene. That’s where all the years working to perfect my craft really paid off. That most unforgiving medium of film wasn’t for the faint-of-heart. I had to make each image perfect without the crutch of Photoshop to help me. A keen sense of color and of shadows and highlights, that sensitivity was the hallmark of the work I produced in those film years.

And now I move it all to the digital world. What a different experience. It no longer takes hours to set up and execute a shot. Many hours at the computer is the new reality. It’s not easier because of Photoshop. On the contrary, much more is expected. Now, in post-production I’m able to make the adjustments which bring an image to new heights of excellence.

This brings me back to the re-build of my website. With the help of my IT guru, Henry VandenBosche of Start On Technology, we’re pulling my film-work together with my digital-work and we’re building a site I can be proud to display. I regret not starting this process sooner. No matter. It’s never too late to advance, be it shooting techniques or computer skills. The result, a portfolio I’m proud of.

But be it film or digital; either way, my photographs are there to convey the imagination and skill of the designers who create these wonderful places.


Here’s an example of a shot on film which had to be complete IN THE CAMERA! No cheating – all lighting had to be perfect there and then.

RESTAURANT Pelican Restaurant


And here’s an example of a digital shot which had to be completed later IN PHOTOSHOP!

Il Belaggio, West Palm Beach

But let’s not be concerned with the tools. Let’s recognize the photographer who wields them. In the end, that’s my point.