Lonely Planet Writer

Sunrise, sunset: city photos at the golden hour

In travel photography, light can either be your best friend or a horribly mismatched travel companion. The way the light enters and consumes the scene can either enhance or diminish the destination’s beauty. The best travel photographers know how to spot and utilize the 'right light', making their photos leap off the page and irresistible to fellow travelers.

The light at the very beginning and end of each day - the so-called 'golden hour' - is the most popular among photographers, and works particularly well with city photos. The low-angled light, the long shadows, the contrasting light and dark, and the vivid colors of dawn and dusk allow a city’s beauty to shine through (no pun instead), without all the hustle and bustle of surrounding tourists and residents getting in the way.

Take a look at following 15 dusk and dawn photos of cities around the world that have been submitted to the Capture the City photo competition so far that really showcase this magical time of day.

The Sydney Opera House enveloped in a sea of purple - Photo By Kumiko N. - See original

Amsterdam canal frozen over as the sun sets - Photo by Maddie S. - See original

Lighthouse view of Puerto Vallarta as the sun touches the horizon - Photo By Shanti G. - See original

Sunset framing the Eiffel Tower from Place de la Concorde, Paris - Photo By Christophe S. - See original

Heavenly light over St. Peter's Basilica and the Tiber River in Rome - Photo By Jason L. - See original

Night settling in over Prague - Photo By Kumiko N. - See original

Sunrise light in Venice - Photo By Brice C. - See original

Evening traffic illuminates downtown Seattle - Photo By Walter C. - See original

San Cristobal Hill, Santiago in the twilight of winter - Photo By Claudio A. - See original

The Golden Gate Bridge as the golden hour slips into night, San Francisco - Photo By Dany C. - See original

Dusk falling over the Toronto skyline - Photo By Dario E. - See original

Sunset illuminating the Clock Tower, London - Photo By Qiong L. - See original

Sunset view of the Sforza Castle in Milan - Photo By Christophe S. - See original

Sun making its descent over the National Grand Theatre in Beijing - Photo By Dario E. - See original

Moscow, Russia during the White Nights - Photo By Steve T. - See original

These and many more shots from all times of day are currently being entered into our Capture the City photo competition. Enter now with your own photo for a chance to win a travel voucher plusyour photo might be featured on the cover of a Lonely Planet city or pocket city guide. (Hurry! Contest ends June 13, 2012 11:59pm PDT.)