For two hours a day the world is at its most beautiful. These 97 remarkable photos celebrate that time.

WINNER - Ducks in Gold and Blue

Ed note: Eek, not much of a description came with this submission! Regardless, I couldn't help but highlight it for its overt-yet-restrained gold and blue palette. Beautiful work, Henrik!
Nikon d80, 28-300mm, 1/125sec, 400ISO, f/6.3
- Henrik Paales

Golden Flowers

I've been following Gizmodo's shooting challenges for some time now, but I've been shooting landscapes for over four years. The golden hour has its way of really taking scenery to an entirely new level, and I enjoy the thrill of traveling to distant destinations searching for that elusive picture in the most preferred setting. My most favored shots in my collection are ones taken just after the sun rises/sets over/past the horizon - which is usually a very narrow window of opportunity spanning only a few minutes, This picture is no exception, and was taken right at sunrise in a park (appropriately) called 'Top of the World' in Laguna Beach, CA. (Canon Rebel XTi w/24-70 2.8, f/8, 1/320s, ISO200, 70mm, Manfrotto tripod)
- Francis Manuel


This is my first entry into the Shooting Challenge. I've been following them for sometime and wanting to enter but just never got around to putting something together. This time I was determined to get an entry in. I spent some time this week coming up with locations and potential shots with the plan of getting out this weekend. Naturally the weekend forecast changed to nothing but rain so I had just one morning (this one) and one evening to get a good shot.


I spotted this on the way to work and had about 5 minutes to setup and make the shot. Oddly enough this was not one of my scouted locations and I just happened across it. As fate would have it the evening clouded over so this was the only chance I ended up with. Luckily I had my camera with me. Canon EOS 60D, Lens EF 300 f4-5.6, 1/400 at f6.3 ISO 100
- Bruce Clement

Ring of Fire

Caught a parking lot carnival tonight and it happened to be an outstanding night out. Did some long exposure and was happy how the colors on this one came out. Nikon D3000, Tamron Lens 18-270mm, ISO:100, Exposure: 2.5-4 sec.
- Steve P.

Golden Gerty

I was composing a scene outside with the intent of submitting another picture, when I noticed my puppy, Gerty, was watching me with such intensity. I thought there was probably a bit too much sun behind her, but I quickly took a knww and fired off a shot to try and capture her curiosity. It resulted in a nice glow around her! Shot with a Canon 60D and EF50MM f/1.8 II lens 1/100 sec. F/3.5, ISO 100, 50 MM
- Chris


I've wanted to shoot a local downtown area for a while, and finally went down there on Saturday night to do it for this contest. There's a historic limestone building with flowers planted in front that looked like it would give a nice demonstration of the colors possible during the Golden Hour. Took the shot about a half-hour before sunset. Shooting summary: Olympus E-P1, Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45 mm f/2 with micro 4/3 adapter, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, f/2.8, EV +.3.
- Bob Gallimore

The Web that Caught the Sun

My neighborhood is growing pretty fast and I noticed they recently started clearing out the woods behind my house. My kids go out there pretty frequently so I decided when I saw this contest it would be a perfect time to go shoot a sunset through the trees. I came away with a few fairly standard photos but when I almost walked into this spider web I thought I'd give my new wide angle f/2.8 lens a workout. I got as close to the spider web as my lens would let me, then focused on the spider to leave plenty of bokeh in the trees and sun behind it. No crazy post-processing, just a tight crop and some minor color correction. Great little walk in the woods too that left me feeling excited that winter is officially over. Thanks for the idea, Giz! Canon 60D Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 Lens @ 16mm, 320 ISO @ f/2.8 and 1/1000 sec
- Tommy Byrd

Little Sister

Taken with a camcorder! A Panasonic HS-700 to be precise, with a polarizing filter attached. 1/100th second, ~f4, can't exactly remember. Took this earlier this evening whilst at the beach in Northern England. It is a picture of my stepmum and little sister wrapping up as it was starting to get cold after a nice long day enjoying the sunshine. It was actually a lot brighter than it appears, as I had to close the aperture right down to bring out the sun's colour!
- Peter Kilfeather

Lake Ontario

I walked down to the pier before sunset to see what kind of photographic opportunities I might find during the "Golden Hour". I noticed a bunch of seagulls standing on the edge of the pier and as I got closer they would take off over the water towards the sun every time. I set my camera to f/4 ISO 400 to allow for a faster shutter to try to catch one of the gulls in mid flight over the water. I'd approach them slowly to see how close I could get and then kneel down on one knee to get closer to the water and stabilize my body and camera. When the birds took off I'd pull the camera up to my eye whilst twisting my body to pan the camera with the flight of the bird and snap a few shots when the bird was in frame. Camera: Canon 40d, Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8, 1/800 seconds at ISO 400, f/4, Lake Ontario, Canada.
- Andrew O'Hoski


I was out taking photos of the sunset with my brother when I noticed a rather skilled skim boarder riding the building swell. The colors were awesome and he made a great subject for the Golden Hour contest. I talked to him after taking the shots and found out he is an instructor from a company that teaches people of all ages how to skim board and enjoy the ocean. Needless to say Andrew was awesome and allowed for me to enter this photo. Canon Rebel T1i, Sigma 10-20mm, iso:100, f/5.6, shutter speed: 1/4
- Brenton Weist

The Tale of the Missing Train

For this photo, I used a Sony DSC-W290, and a Gorilla Pod. Unfortunately, this is a very basic consumer camera, so there are very few variables that I can change. Nevertheless, on that camera, there is a function that I call "HDR Mode", since it takes 3 pictures at different exposures. Unfortunately, I don't have much control over the advanced settings, so it was automatically choosing the exposure, shutter speed, aperture and so on. For all 3 of the photos, the f-stop was f/8, the ISO was 80, the focal length was 5mm, and the max aperture was 3.43.


The exposure and the shutter speed changed for every photo. The first photo, which was the brightest, had a 1/30 shutter speed, and a +1 exposure, the second one had a 1/60 shutter speed and a +/- 0 exposure, and the last one, which was the darkest had a 1/125 shutter speed and a -1 exposure.

So the story: the morning after I read about this competition, I got up at 5am, to go catch a picture of the sun rising over the train. If everything worked out perfectly, the sun would have risen at the same time as the train passed. I set up my camera onto a gorilla pod, and put it into an hdr mode, wanting to take a picture of the sunrise when the train passed. However, I screwed up, and instead took 3 pictures of the train at different exposures. Yet worse, when the train passed, the sun was barely over the horizon, and everything around me, including the train, was lit up by light coming from the dusk. After 3 failed attempts at taking a picture of the train, and waiting over an hour lying on the freezing ground, I decided to go home and see what I could do with the photos. On the way back, I snapped a quick HDR photo of the rails, which eventually turned out to be the photo that I chose for this competition. Then I took advantage of the holidays and slept for several extra hours.
- Sasha


I was out with my wife and daughter at the park just as it was getting to be the "golden hour". When I looked at this brightly colored dolphin it screamed "playground memories" to me. So I grabbed my camera (always on hand), got low to the ground (from a kids perspective) and shot. Canon EOS Rebel Xsi, Old manual Auto Chinon 1:1.7 55mm with an adaptor, ISO 100, f 1.7, 1/1000
- Dan Pietrini

You took some ridiculously great photos this week. I personally enjoyed the various interpretations of the Golden Hour. I've always seen it as something subtle, when the world turns a touch more warm, sometimes even gold. But many (both outside and inside this contest) see it as a flaring, gilding of the landscape. Either way, the shots are a pleasure to take in. The galleries are below. The wallpapers are on flickr.

Mark Wilson is the founder of photography blog Life, Panoramic and Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.