Natural Light Portrait in the Golden Hour

Nikon D300 with Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8 lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1600th natural lightI am a huge believer and practitioner of off camera flash.  However, it is very freeing to be able to photograph without worry of a strobe firing, using the right power, diffusing the flash properly, etc.  Florida has mostly very, very harsh and strong sunlight, but it has golden hours just like every where else too.  

I made this portrait using the nice soft light of about 30 minutes before sunset on this Treasure Island beach.  Note though that I still had the subject mostly face the setting sun as well as my back to the sun.  I chose an aperture that allowed me to both use the lowest ISO on my camera and also produce a shallow DoF in order to separate my subject from the background.  

Depending on location and sky conditions, the golden hour for shooting can start from about 90-minutes before sunset and continue on a few minutes after it sets.  Of course there is another golden hour each day for early risers, about 30 minutes before sunrise.