“Blue nights are the span of time following the summer solstice when the twilights turn long and blue… and over the course of an hour or so, this blue deepens, becomes more intense even as it darkens and fades…”
-Blue Nights, Joan Didion
The term has many associations. From Guerlain’s L’heure Bleue perfume to human dispositions, as in beating the blues, to a time of innocence, such as that used to describe Paris just prior to World War I, a precise definition of the blue hour is difficult.
That is, until you see it. Even then it will defy words. Or more accurately, especially then, it will defy words.
But could I find that elusive Blue Hour in Los Angeles?
O yes, I did. Standing at the Los Angeles River a passerby said “it’s the blue hour. Isn’t it something?” Yes, it was.
(So impressed was I, some research was in order. The effect appears to be exacerbated in colder climates. But it’s not the temperature, rather the snow on the ground absorbing the red light frequencies that give a more vividly blue appearance. Light scattering (Rayleigh Scattering) is at work. Films and digital cameras have differing dynamic ranges so it is very difficult to achieve the same dynamic range as the human eye this translates to a more saturated blue capture.)