Golden Hour Photography: Five Sunset Pictures From My Portfolio

I believe that the love of sunsets is something that most human beings share. The emotions one feels when watching a sunset may vary; happiness, relief, melancholy, sadness… Emotions that differ from each other but are all united by a particular beauty. It is rare that people do not stop to observe the beauty of a sunset. As I have already mentioned in this article that is a kind of homage to the art of photography, I started taking pictures as a child and the camera has always been my faithful companion, whether it was a simple disposable Kodak, a standard digital camera, a Reflex camera or a smartphone with an advanced camera (and it should be pointed out that I was also taking pictures with early models of flip phones of about 2 megapixels). However, sunsets began to be a consistent subject of my photographs only when I received my first SLR as a gift (just a couple of years after the first iPhone model came out), and over the years I have photographed hundreds of sunsets. The richest period of sunset shots dates back to the outbreak of the pandemic; at the time I was living in Bordighera, a town on the Ligurian Riviera that offers breathtaking sunsets, especially in the winter time. I had a balcony overlooking the sea so it was a prime location to observe sunsets and capture them on camera.

For this article I have decided to create a top five of my favorite sunsets photographed over the years; each sunset comes from a different location and I have assigned poetry excerpts to each picture because I believe that every sunset has something poetic about it. Also, I just realized that all the photos I have chosen were taken in Italy; this is probably due to the fact that many places in my country are famous for golden hour beauty.

More sunset pictures taken in Italy and other countries can be found on Flickr in my Sunrise & Sunset Photography album, which also includes one of my most viewed sunset photos on Flickr; it was taken in Calabria (Southern Italy) and served as inspiration for my first WordPress blog post.

1) Lignano Sabbiadoro and the Countryside (North-East Italy):

Lignano Sabbiadoro: The Beauty of Clouds

Beautiful Evening – Mary E. Nealey

I love the beautiful evening
When the sunset clouds are gold;
When the barn-fowls seek a shelter,
And the young lambs seek their fold:
When the four-o’clocks are open,
And the swallows homeward come;
When the horses cease their labors,
And the cows come home.

2) Milano Navigli (Northern Italy):

Navigli Sunset - "Milano da Bere".
Navigli “Milano Da Bere”

In Gold Lacquer by Bliss Carman

The air is flecked with filtered gold, —
The shimmer of romance
Whose ageless glamour still must hold
The world as in a trance,
Pouring o’er every time and place
Light of an amber sea,
The spell of all the gladsome things
That have been or shall be.


Calabria – Sunset Reflections

There is nothing more musical than a sunset – Debussy

It’s been exactly ten years since I took this photo. I remember it vividly; the sun setting on the Tyrrhenian coast, the warm colors, the beauty of Southern Italy at dusk.

I published the photo on Flickr about two years ago, when I opened my profile, and it received a lot of praise from the users (this was also probably due to the fact that it was my first photo on the Explore page), as I kept registering it for competitions on the website.

It often ended up on the podium and last week it won the “Sunsets by the Sea” contest, so I decided to use it for the opening of this blog.

I think it conveys a lot; it was one of the first pictures I took with my old Reflex (Canon 1000D), which I was bringing with me everywhere around that time, and even though I have been into photography since I was in primary school (starting out with Kodak’s disposable cameras), it’s when I started learning more about it, mostly as an autodidact.

“Italian Sunset – Calabria” (this is how I named it on Flickr) represents my origins; I was born in Milan from a Calabrian father and my maternal grandparents are also from this Italian region. During my childhood years I used to spend lots of summers in Guardia Piemontese Marina, a little coastal town, and I have the most wonderful memories of my time there with my beloved grandparents.

I wish to go back to the South and explore different cities, the most touristic ones, which I haven’t seen yet (maybe we are so focused on traveling, getting to know exotic places around the world, that we forget the places closest to us that are worth discovering, too); Scilla, Tropea, Capo Vaticano and others are on my list and I will surely keep you updated. I may create a local guide with the must-see places in Calabria.

I highly recommend you visit Southern Italy and Calabria in particular, as it is one of the most fascinating Italian regions. Natural places, historical sites and the local food (so delicious!) will surely make your trip beautiful and exciting!