Sussex Bylenses: photo theme of the month

Sussex Sun

  • Silhouette of a tree against a dramatic sunset

June is the month of the equinox and longest days of the year. A perfect time to get out and about to enjoy the best morning light and spectacular sunsets. Sussex is blessed with a special intense quality of light, ideal for photographing stunning skyscapes.

The so-called ‘magic hour‘ occurs early morning and late evening and embraces the additional phenomenon of the ‘blue hour’ and the ‘golden hour’. Each add their own character for stunning photographs.

The blue hour is the period of time just before sunrise, characterised by soft light when the sky turns from a deep twilight to dark blue and then to light blue just before the Sun rises. The conditions are repeated in reverse just after sunset when the sky changes from light blue to dark blue into a deep twilight.

The golden hour follows and precedes the blue hour, the period just after sunrise and just before sunset, when the light of the Sun is at its softest and most colourful. Soft oranges and reds become intense.

Light levels change quickly during this period, so it is difficult to give a guide on the best camera settings. Keep the ISO low (say 100) to avoid ‘noise’ and set the aperture between f9 and f16. The shutter speed depends on what effect you want to achieve, maybe five seconds in a deep blue sky should gather enough light, but as the sky lightens, step up the speed. All you need then is a tripod.

The vibrant sky and cloud formation may be enough to create a photo to be proud of, for greater effect, having a contrast in the foreground can improve the impact of the overall composition.

Whatever your camera, it’s got to be worth a try

Why not share your efforts and submit your entries by email to Please add your name (or the name you wish to be attributed) and photograph title in the subject line, and any description of the images submitted in the body of the email.

Proposed themes for the next two months:

  • July : ‘Sussex culture’
  • August : ‘On the water’

Each month we will suggest a Sussex-related theme for readers to address. Themes will be set on the first of each month for submission any time up to the month end, images to be uploaded at any time during that period. Contributors are welcome to submit as many images as they wish which reflect and interpret the theme set. Selected photographs remain on view until the following month. The theme is open to your personal interpretation and selected on ‘flexible’ criteria: composition, technical quality, originality and reflecting the theme.

All entrants must be the sole owner of copyright original work and will retain copyright of the photographs they submit. For intellectual property reasons, please do not repost other people’s photographs, or anything downloaded from websites. Showing and sharing your own work is more personal and relevant.

Follow @SussexBylines on social media