Golden Hour: a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.
Blue Hour: the period of twilight early in the dawn each morning and late dusk each evening when the sun is at a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue.
There isn't a single landscape photographer that doesn't know these times of day. Rule #1 of landscape photography is we do not talk about... wait, no... that's Fight Club. Rule #1 is if you're going to go out to photograph the great outdoors, you do it during the golden and blue hours. Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of being able to take advantage of these times, but still want to get out and do some shooting.
Without a doubt, today was one of those days.
Harsh shadows and a big, blue, bald sky; doesn't get much worse. I am not however, so easily defeated. I knew from the get go color wasn't going to be in my best interest. Between the "meh" color of the weeds and the terrible, boring color of the sky, black and white is my only option.
Fortunately with this abandoned rail car, it wasn't too hard to find the best angles on this. From the back it was exactly as you see but without it was entirely in shadow. What I really wanted to find were some leading lines to take the eye further into the photo. Since this is after all, a rail car, there were of course tracks to help out. After spending some time finding the correct composition, here are my favorite from today's local trip
Moral of the story: does it matter to be sure you're out shooting only during the golden and blue hours? Yes, actually, it does. It matters because when it comes to gorgeous landscapes you will certainly find the best results at the right time of day. That said, if you can only manage the time to go out and it's 2 pm, by all means, go.