Summer skies’ soft transition into autumn leaves for some glorious sunsets, but that’s not all. These warm evenings provide the perfect lighting for photos. In photography, the time just before sunset and after sunrise is known as the Golden Hour. But what makes the Golden Hour so special?
The colors we see in the sunset sky are due to a scientific phenomenon known as “scattering”. Our earthly atmosphere is made up of millions upon millions microscopic molecules. Because there’s more air to travel through when the sun is tracking towards the horizon, there are more molecules and particles scatteringthe light waves; giving us the reds and yellows we see during Golden Hour.
We’re probably biased, but Rhode Island is one of the best places to capture Golden Hour. With so many picturesque settings across the state, you’re bound to live within a few miles of your own perfect Golden Hour spot.
Our team voted and came up with our TOP FIVE locations to shoot at during Golden Hour. Maybe you agree with us or maybe you have your own secret spot. Disagree with our list? Let us know what YOU think should make the listin the comment section below!
NUMBER 5: Surfer’s End, Middletown, RI
Yes, we know Surfer’s End doesn’t have any jaw-dropping views of the sun dipping below the waves, but it boasts 360º views of the stunning surrounding area. Surrounding area that’s home to one of the most beautiful campuses in Rhode Island; Saint George’s School. This international boarding school has one of the most beautifully imposing gothic style chapels we’ve laid our eyes on. Just a short walk down the beach is Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge trail; a 2.5 mile hiking loop that offers visitors a chance to get a glimpse at some of the amazing fauna and flora that Rhode Island has to offer. As the sky flickers to from amber orange to soft pink, Golden Hour coats the views of the Atlantic Ocean, purgatory chasm, and Sachuest point in a brilliant warm tone.
NUMBER 4: Providence Pedestrian Bridge, Providence, RI
A far cry from the roar of the thousands of cars ferrying folks to and from their destinations that echoed above the river just 10 years ago, the Providence Pedestrian Bridge has a much greener feel than it’s predecessor. The I-195 relocation project unwound the stretch of highway that serpentined through the capital city 2,000 feet to the south – just outside the hurricane barrier. Left in the wake were the footprints of a sound structure sticking out of the polluted yet picturesque Providence River. After a long wait (just about 11 years), the Providence Pedestrian Bridge opened to the public last fall to much fanfare. Standing on it, one can soak in the scenic skyline of the buildings as they stretch into the Rhode Island sky.
This place is especially beautiful at Golden Hour. When the sun’s low in the sky, tucked away behind the skyscrapers, casting shadows across a bustling downtown. Office lights flicker to life as the cotton candy clouds slowly saturate with orange, red, and pink. The warm light envelopes the city in an ethereal glow.
NUMBER 3: Brenton Point State Park, Newport, RI
Of course we couldn’t leave Newport high and dry on our list. With such a diverse selection of beautiful places, Newport is a treasure trove for Golden Hour gallivanters, but Brenton Point has a step up on the rest of the island because it gives that amazing edge-of-the-world feel.
Located at the last spit of land where the cold Atlantic waters ceaselessly pound the rocky Rhode Island shoreline, Brenton Point is perfect at just about any time of day (unless it’s low tide or a hurricane!) A once sprawling estate, this state park was home to a beautiful mansion that was demolished shortly after WWII (due to a fire and vandalism), but structures like the carriage house and lookout tower can still be found. What really gives Brenton Point its beauty are the colors that dance across the sky and the unadulterated views of the Atlantic that make it surreal during Golden Hour.
NUMBER 2: Goddard State Park, Warwick, RI
Nestled up the bay from Brenton Point, Goddard State Park and its predecessor on the list share a couple similarities. First, both state parks offer very different but still such beautiful views, especially at Golden Hour. What’s more, both Brenton and Goddard State Parks were once grand estates with mansions and stone buildings sprinkled throughout the grounds. Through time, these two immense plots of land once the backyards of Rhode Island’s wealthiest were established as public state parks for all to enjoy.
Fun fact! Did you know that the land that Goddard State occupies was mostly flat and barren originally? The majority of the trees you’ll wander beneath were hand-planted or grew from the seeds of hand-planted shrubs put in the ground over a hundred years ago.
With a 3-mile-long loop that walks high above the east shore of Greenwich bay, Golden hour at Goddard State park will cast breathtaking colors across the roofs of the homes in historic downtown East Greenwich across the harbor. When you come for Golden Hour, be sure to bring some bug spray, the woods and water provide a haven for those nasty gnats!
NUMBER 1: Point Judith, Narragansett, RI
Few know that Point Judith is home to the last battle of World War II. A German U-boat was torpedoed and sank in the early days of May 1945 after she attacked the SS Black Point, an American civilian ship steaming her way to Boston. The resulting action is classified as the Battle of Point Judith where Navy and Coast Guard forces hunted the German submarine and sank it in the waters between Point Judith and Block Island.
History lesson aside, the long since demilitarized plot of land at the mouth of Narragansett Bay’s West Passage is arguably the most picturesque place in Rhode Island. Because the land juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and sits atop a small hill, unobstructed views of the surrounding area are just some of the amazing features of Point Judith. But it’s when the sun starts its trip toward the distant horizon when the magic of Golden Hour happens. As the minutes tick by, the colors of the evening sky dance from vibrant, warm orange to a soft violet-pink until the darkness reveals the bright stars free from light pollution.
We had a tough time deciding on these places. There are hundreds, if not thousands of Golden Hour contenders just in our tiny state alone. It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of picturesque places to see in Rhode Island. And the perks of having such a small state with so many beautiful places is that these are all within 1.5 hours of each other. Get out there and explore! Let us know what YOUR top 5 spots are!
Scientific info in intro credited to https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108135522.htm