In the Arctic, ‘Magic Hour’ Lasts Far More Than Just an Hour

By Tom Yulsman | January 19, 2015 6:08 pm
magic hour

The view west from Mount Storsteinen near Tromsø, Norway, on Jan. 19, 2014.

Pic of the Day

After being absent since October, the sun will return to Tromsø, Norway on Wednesday, Jan. 21. And even though I’m visiting here for just a little over a week, and I have therefore not missed the sun for months on end like the residents of this lovely Arctic city, I’m very much looking forward to the moment when it will briefly poke up above the horizon.

In the meantime, as a photographer — and just someone who appreciates nature every single day — I’m feasting on the magic hour light that goes on for hours and hours on end here while the sun cruises just below the horizon.

That magical light is on dramatic display in the photo above, which I shot from Mount Storsteinen high above Tromsø at about 1 p.m. last Sunday. Those colors are very much real. But they’re just a few examples of a broad spectrum of subtle tones (and sometimes not so subtle) that are on dramatic display during the polar darkness — which turns out to be not so dark at all at this time of year.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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