There’s nothing as majestic as animals under the golden glow of the first and last hours of sunlight. We can’t help but share these 39 stunning animal photos taken during Golden Hour with you. Scroll down, and get inspired!

1. Lions Breath by Richard Peters

“A lioness at first light, on the final morning of my trip to Africa last year. We came across a small group right near camp (Entim) and waited with them for the sun to rise. I’m a sucker for these types of shots…warm, backlit subjects, and some breath to add to the atmosphere of the shot.”

2. Spermophilus Citellus by Jiní Míchal

3. Golden hour by Rene Visser

Golden hour by René Visser on

“At the end of the day when the sun is touching the horizon the light gets very beautiful and warm. When a red deer decides to roar right in front of me it makes it a beautiful end of the day!”

4. Fly Dance by Simon Roy

“Fallow buck and flies at dawn.”

5. Fox by Dick van Duijn

Fox by Dick van Duijn on

“A walking fox during the golden hour somewhere in the Netherlands.”

6. Ice Runner by Lee Fisher

“A white-tailed eagle runs across the ice during the incredible sunrise light. Shot taken in Poland.”

7. Golden Jaws by Morkel Erasmus

“A large hippopotamus gives me a distinctive gaping yawn against that golden African sunset we all love so much. This photo was taken on the Chobe river at sunset while leading a photographic safari. I only noticed the effect of the light on the surrounding bugs when I opened the image up on my computer.”

8. Obscured by Chen Lubashevsky

Obscured by Chen Lubashevsky on

9. Brave Elephant by Marsel van Oosten

“I left very early with a small boat to reach my location. On my way to the edge, I suddenly saw the lone bull wading through shallow parts of the river, but it was far away and light levels were low, so I decided to continue to the falls. I took some sunrise shots, and half an hour later I saw the elephant approaching the falls. I quickly collected my gear and moved carefully towards the edge where the water plummeted into a 360ft chasm — not particularly nice when you’re afraid of heights.

I set everything up in order to include as much as possible of the falls and made a composition. Luckily, the elephant was aware of my preference to shoot into the light, so his position couldn’t be better. After I took the shots, I knew I had just witnessed and captured something very special.”

10. Sandhill Cranes by Jason Savage

“Sandhill Cranes compete in central Montana, engaging in a fierce encounter over a female.”

11. Mountain Fox in Low Sunlight by Trond Eriksen

“This fellow was sneaking around looking for food.”

12. Crossing the River by Edwin Leung

“Horses raced to cross a river one morning in Inner Mongolia of China.”

13. Cheetah Cubs – Maasaï Mara – Kenya by Brice Petit

“Cheetah cubs at sunset.”

14. Fields of Gold by Morkel Erasmus

“An endangered Cape Mountain Zebra at sunset on the plateau of the Mountain Zebra National Park, South Africa. Gotta love the golden hour in Africa! Light like nowhere on earth.”

15. Running On Water by Mario Moreno

“Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis) running over a flooded area in Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of The Okavango Delta. This image was taken during our 2010 tour to the Delta. We were lucky to experience the highest water level in the past 25 years.”

16. Field of Gold by Richard Peters

“A short eared owl, perches atop what seems to be a far too thin a stem in very low autumnal sunlight. A break in the clouds bathed the entire scene in the most amazing light from the setting sun which lit the area up in golden browns. I had to lay almost flat in the mud at the edge of the field in order to get low enough that the owl would be set against the contrast of the darker background on the distant bushes and trees.”

17. Say Hello to the Sun by Kyriakos Kaziras

“Polar bear looking at the sunset.”

18. Khwai Leopardess by Brendon Cremer

“What a pleasure it was to be alone for most of the time with this sighting of a female leopard and her small cub. We were able to capture a full range of image from daylight, golden hour, sunset to darkness with a spotlight. Certainly one the best I’ve had.”

19. Warrior that Lost the Battle by Tejas Soni

“Black buck.”

20. Golden Ducks by Wojciech Grzanka

21. First Few Steps by Rupesh Jadhav

“Olive Ridley turtle just after its birth…ready to take its plunge in the mighty ocean.”

22. Orange Bath Light by Marina Cano

“Ostrich at sunset. South Africa.”

23. The Sentinel by Marsel van Oosten

“When I was photographing meerkats in Botswana, I wanted to create a shot that I had never seen before of these little critters – a silhouetted meerkat against a great ball of fire, the setting sun.

To get the shot, the conditions needed to be just right: a clear day with a lot of wind so that there was a lot of dust in the air. Without dust the sun would never turn yellow and red and would just be a white circle in the frame. But more importantly, I needed to get a single meerkat between me and the setting sun. During the day meerkats are very mobile, searching for food.

Around sunset, they start heading back towards their burrows because they need to be inside before it gets dark – too dangerous to stay out. And when they head back home, they mean business – most of the time they were running, only to stop every now and then to check the surroundings for danger. That meant that I had to run in the same direction as well, at a distance.

The biggest problem was to predict where a meerkat, any meerkat, would stop to check for danger. I had to pick a spot, lie down and hope for the best. Obviously, this was a nightmare – try running around with a 600mm and get up and down smoothly. The first few days I was unsuccessful, but on the third day I picked the right spot when the conditions were just perfect.”

24. Morning Raga by Tejas Soni

“Great flamingo and waterbirds.”

25. Kalahari Heat by Mario Moreno

“Gemsbok or Oryx captured in Piper Pan in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana on a very hot sunset. You can actually see the heat haze causing a bit of a blur that in my opinion adds to the mood.”

26. Golden Hour Fox by Yves Adams

“Portrait of a red fox in the late evening light in the dunes at the Belgium coast.”

27. Scout of the Sunset by Christos Kaouranis

“This is a shot of a frog in the river that seem to look at the sun setting. It was almost sunset hour and it seemed a good time for me to capture this moment (better colors, softer light). For this photo, I had to get down to the ground and crawl my way to the frog, because frogs are very sensitive when you approach them and they dive in back in the river. I literally almost had my camera in the water since my longest lens is my trusty macro 100mm and I tried to get a close shot.”

28. Good Morning, Snowy by Tin Man

“This snowy owl (I believe he’s a male) was up and awake at the first ray of light. I tried to take photos of snowy owls right before sunrise with low light so that they have the cute big dilated pupils in their eyes, while the soft ambient morning light was strong enough to create a golden glow on their body. I was laying on the ground to take the pic so that the bluish/purple morning sky was in the background, which caused a few scratches on my lovely camera by the tall grass and small rocks on the beach. But it’s all worth it, I think.”

29. Cheetah On Sunset by David Lloyd

“A cheetah right on sunset. The eye colour really comes out at this time of day, when the sun is low.”

30. Lion Pride on a Kalahari Dune at Sunset by Christophe Jobic

“I met this lion pride lying on the rim of a red sand dune in the Kalahari Transfrontier Park (South Africa/Botswana) along the Nossob riverbed, on my way back to the Rooiputs campsite. I came back to the camp a bit after official hours but the sight was worth it, isn’t it?”

31. Last Light Leopard by Chris Petersen

Last Light Leopard by Chris Petersen on

“A female leopard lounges in the last light of day before going on her hunt in Nagarhole Forest Reserve in India.”

32. Untitled by Arturas Kerdokas

“Red deer in morning sun.”

33. Bedtime by Harry Eggens

“Atlantic Puffin just before sunset on Skomer Island a few miles out of the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales.”

34. Bird in Waves by Arun Kumar

“This photo was taken in Ludhiana Punjab India, beautiful sunrise and golden light in water.”

35. The Magic of Chobe by Mario Moreno

The Magic of Chobe by Mario Moreno on

“An Elephant (Loxodonta africana) crossing over to mainland in the golden hours where magic happens. Image taken in Chobe National Park, Botswana.”

36. Walking in Sunshine by Mario Moreno

“Kalahari lions (Panthera leo) walking on the Nossob dry riverbed in golden early morning light just after sunrise. Image captured near Nossob camp in the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park in South Africa.”

37. Golden Morning by Ralph Winter

Golden Morning by Ralph Winter on

38. Light Painting by Simon Roy

“A female Red Deer photographed against the rising sun and dramatically under exposed so that only a trace of light is visible.”

39. First Rays of Light by Gorazd Golob

“For 10 days, we were seeking for perfect light, moment, and animal. This was only moment we cough it in such light, mostly because we refuse to run on every lions’ track. The sun was against us, climbing over the hill, sending some light on the giraffe while trees on the hill behind was still in the shadow. No color correction, I just added black, because the original was too light. No other post-processing.”

BONUS for the readers who made it all the way down this collection:

40. Rabbit Kits by Simon Roy

“Juvenile Rabbits just after sunrise.”

See more animals during sunrise and sunset or browse more magical Golden Hour images by following those links! And if you have a favorite golden hour shot to share, drop it in the comments down below.