The term has a lot of associations. From Guerlain’s L’heure Bleue perfume created in 1912, to human disposition, as in “beating the wintertime blues”, to a time of innocence, such as that used to describe Paris just prior to World War I, a definition of the blue hour is difficult to nail down.

That is, until you see it. Even then it will defy words. Or more accurately, especially then, it will defy words.

On a road trip to North Dakota this year I captured the photo below at dusk. Looking through the windowpane at the frost and bits of snow clinging to the glass, I was taken aback with this dream scene.

The Blue Hour

I’d heard the term used for the golden hour of photography, was familiar with Roy Orbison’s “When the Blue Hour Comes”, knew that in Scotland it’s referred to as “gloaming”, had heard the German term ‘alpenglow’ used to describe a similar effect (specifically that which occurs on mountains), and had even read (and amazingly recalled) a Victorian era term ‘Belt of Venus’ that was used to describe the blue or golden hour.

But I’d never captured it so eloquently.

When my camera stopped clicking and my host broke the silence, she said “it’s the blue hour. Isn’t it something?” I thought I’d cry.

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  • Tammie Dooley

    I’m an explorer who happens to write and maintain a camera on my person at all times. Foreign travel is exotic but doesn't happ…

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