Gilland: Taking advantage of the golden hour

Family jumping on the beach at sunset

My wife and I are the proud parents of four adult children, each now having their own kids. Our grandchild count is now up to 10, with our oldest grandson about to graduate from college.

I think about my family every day, as we have some beautiful photographs in the line of sight from our breakfast table. I glance at these portrait photos every day, and when I do, I am prompted to pray for them—my kids, their kids, and the grands that are yet to come. 

Those photos are precious to me, as they capture not only the faces that I love and hold dear in my heart. They also are snapshots of the moment, and the memories that accompany that image.

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As I write this, I can almost see the faces of my sons-in-law when it is picture time, as each dad thinks about the task ahead of getting their kids in order. 

But the truth is, we are always glad for those pictures afterwards, deeming them worth the effort of getting everyone in place and ready to smile on cue, pose, and to not have one of the little ones run off to jump in a swimming pool just before the snap. (Yep, that actually happened recently!)

Years ago, as we were preparing for a professional photographer to take our family pictures in a beautiful outdoor setting, I learned something that I didn’t know before. Photographers will refer to the “golden hour,” a brief window of time that occurs both in the morning after sunrise, and also just before dusk in the late afternoon. 

The sun does a marvelous thing during those brief moments of every day, giving off a glow and lighting conditions that can’t be duplicated at any other point of the day. Colors are more vibrant, and the hue of the atmosphere is just magical as it is captured by the camera.

That extra bit of “magic” makes an already memorable occasion even more special when we look back on that photo, months or years later. More than I could have ever known, I now cherish pictures of my family members that have since passed away. Some of those photos were shot in those golden moments of the day, while others were taken indoors without the aid of those magical hues and colors. 

But the real golden touch is found in the faces of those we love, and those very special moments of that occasion that will live on and on in our hearts and minds.

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