Out of the unclear blue sky

Here’s an example of what the blue hour can do for your photographs.

Just this past weekend my family and I took a mini vacation to San Diego. A light summer rain had fallen earlier in the day, and in the evening we went to dinner at the Old Town Mexican Café in the historic Old Town San Diego district. When we got there at about 6:30 p.m., there was a long line and a 25-minute wait. We were somewhere in the middle of a long line of patrons that snaked outside the door. A light cloud cover gently rolled in as we did some people-watching on the sidewalk which was crowded with tourists like us. Across the street stood the historic Whaley House which bills itself as the most haunted place in the nation.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal (I highly recommend the shrimp fajitas) and when we were done we left the restaurant and headed to our car in the parking lot. It was about 8:00 pm., and the previous light clouds had become much thicker and more ominous. The clouds were still translucent enough to allow some light through thus starting the blue hour a little earlier than usual.

The deep blue of the sky contrasted with the warmer streetlights and interior lights of the buildings. It’s that juxtaposition of the two colors that is part of the power and appeal of the blue hour.

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Here are the rules for the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Blue hour” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between August 4 and August 17. The subject is up to you but they must be shot during the “blue hour.”

3. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (eg: “John Doe, Stockton. Weber Avenue in downtown Stockton. Canon EOS Rebel Ti with 18-55mm lens”)

4. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and where they are and what they are doing. (eg: “Jane Smith, 25, Tracy walks down Main Street at Hunter Street in Stockton”)

5. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

6. The deadline for submission is Friday, August 15*. The top examples will be published on Thursday, August 21 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

(*Please note that the publication day for my column has changed to Thursdays and the deadline days have been moved up to the preceding Friday.)

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  • Blog Author

    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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