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feb 03

Travel photos: Tools to find the "Golden Hour"

Copenhagen at the Golden Hour, which, in the summer, lasts longer than an hour. (Courtesy John-Morgan/Flickr)

One of Budget Travel's top tips for taking sharper vacation photos is to shoot during the "golden hour," around sunrise and sunset—when the wash of light that bathes scenery in a soft glow.

But when you travel to a new location, you may not know the times for dawn and dusk. One tool to look up peak photography times is Golden Hour. This free app launched in October and is available via iTunes. If you prefer, you can find the same information on any laptop or mobile device with a Web connection at golden-hour.com.

In addition to the golden hour, you may want to know when the "blue hour" is so-called because the sun hasn't yet come up but the sky is lightening up to a pleasant shade of blue, and already spectacular landscapes appear even more so. In this case, you'll want to fire up the free Twilight Calculator.

And if you're choosing in advance from a couple of different vantage points for shooting, you may prefer SunCalc, a new site that overlays information about the Golden Hour with a view of the sun's trajectory, so that you can see what direction as well as what hour you should shoot from.

TIP: You should also invest in a heavy, sturdy tripod for the low-light conditions.

Feel free to share your own tips about travel photography in the comments.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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