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Sunrise & Sunset Photography Tips

Rule of Thirds Approach of Composition As Well As The Camera Control of Aperture Priority

Rule of Thirds Approach of Composition As Well As The Camera Control of Aperture Priority Greg Miller, one of the Digital Photo Academy instructors in the Hudson Valley chose to create the illusion that the sail boat, which was actually about 150 feet from the shore, was much further away and created an ethereal peaceful scene using the Rule of Thirds approach of composition as well as the camera control of Aperture Priority. But remember to move around a lot because there is always another compelling image in every setting. For example, student William Wilmot bided his time and focused closer on the boat, snapping the shutter just as the sun quickly winked at it. Additionally, he framed his main subject with the leaves in the foreground.

Tip on Photographing the Hudson River

That photo was taken during the Sunday workshop and Long Dock Park. It was just a grab shot since I rarely shoot during a workshop. 24mm on full frame Nikon D810 camera, 0.6 second exposure at F18. Shutter speed was important to render the water texture just right, so shutter speed of 0.6 seconds was chosen, then F18 was chosen to render a good exposure. Exposure was intentionally 1 stop less than the meter reading. The camera meter wants to render the scene a middle gray, but at this time of day, the scene is darker than middle gray. Using the exposure meter’s setting would have caused the photo to be too bright. Story 1: The chap who sails this boat swims to and from it from shore. Note that the water temperature on April is still quite chilly. Story 2: Most photographers go to Long Dock Park at low tide to shoot the pilings in the river that are visible at low tide. This beautiful view south towards the Hudson Highlands near high tide is rarely photographed.  

Symmetry, timing, and simplicity

From Frank Siteman/ DPA instructor in Boston To view more of his images please visit Symmetry, timing and simplicity are the backbone of many stand-out images. This photo was taken while on a casual, end of day walk along the shoreline at Old Orchard Beach in Ogunquit, Maine.  As the sun was setting behind me, only the clouds were being directly illuminated, creating a scene with  an intense, warm-cool  (yellow/blue) color contrast.  Adding to this, was the reflection of the sky on the mirror-like, smooth sand beach, that appeared with each retreating wave, making the timing of the exposure an important factor.  Choosing a wide angle allowed for the inclusion of  the most real estate (keeping both the actual clouds and their reflections on the sand) and enabled me to work with a slowish shutter speed of a 1/15th sec with an aperture  of  f/8.0, holding focus from the foreground to the horizon. This was a situation where breaking the “rule of thirds” allowed for a more dynamic image.   Camera was Canon 5D, ISO 200 and using a 24mm focal length with a 24-105 IS lens.

Around the Corner

© Judith Farber I was driving to my friend′s home in Stinson Beach, CA, when I took a side road and ended up at these cliffs at sunset (a huge drop to the crashing surf below).Camera, a few inches away from my reach...the photo was captured! Be adventurous, take alternative routes, always ready with camera. You just never know what is lurking around the corner.

Exposing for Sunset

© John Bentham When shooting sunsets it’s often very difficult to get a correct exposure. You’re shooting into a light source thus the camera meter is fooled info stopping down the exposure, rendering the sky/sun correct, saturated and with the correct density but the foreground (water or landscape) is much too dark. In many situations you can’t successfully use an HDR composite process because the water is moving or the leaves are blowing in the wind. But you can do an old fashioned cut and paste of two exposures. © John Bentham This photo was pasted together of one dark and one light exposure giving a correct exposure over all. The dual image shows the two original exposures, overexposed is on top (for water exposure), underexposed is on the bottom (for good sky exposure). Remember to shoot a bracket to cover yourself with much darker and lighter frames. Shoot this on manual setting to capture a correct sequence of brackets, alternatively you can use the auto bracket setting in your DSLR. Then you simply choose the correct exposure for the foreground and another for the sky and paste them together in Photoshop. Tip: It helps to have a relatively clean horizon when doing the paste and you should shoot the bracket using a tripod or at the very least rest the camera on something so it won’t move during your bracket. John Bentham

It Pays to Have Patience

© Allen Birnbach One of the greatest lessons I have learned from shooting over the years is that it pays to have patience.  Often times, we are presented with a situation where there are clouds in our scene, and it may seem that a sunrise or sunset with magic light is not going to happen.  The natural inclination is to pack up the gear, and head out, but I promise you, that is not the thing to do.  Having patience and being tenacious is key here, because there are those times where the clouds open and suddenly you have a once in a lifetime image.

Key Tips for your Capturing a Sunset

Some Tips for capturing your sunset 1. Always try to use a tripod to maximize image sharpness. 2. Often, if you use a large aperture (Small F number like 4.5 or 5.6) the image of the sun may be larger that at a small aperture. 3. Do not meter the scene as framed. If you meter the sky without including the sun first, then use that reading when you re-compose, this will provide better exposure values and not become too dark. Try metering, continue to hold the button down halfway, recompose and then push the rest of the way down.

Sunrise Over Morocco

© John Bentham When shooting sunrises there are a few tricks you can employ to ensure better results. Try using a graduated filter, or as in this photo two graduated filters stacked, one Neutral Density (gray) and one blue sky filter. The filters bring the exposure of the sunrise sky more in line with the exposure required for the foreground, in this case a 6am sunrise over the desert in Morocco. Grad filters are like putting sunglasses on the camera but only in the top part of the frame. You slide the filter up and down to position the dark part of the filter line up with the horizon. Sunrises tend to happen very quickly, it starts to get light and then boom, all of a sudden the sun is up and its daylight, unlike sunsets which take a long time and the light and color temperature change as the sun gets lower in the sky. There are a number of iPhone Apps that aid in finding exactly where and when the sun will rise. I like Focalware and Sun Seeker but I also try and scout the location when possible, I carry a compass when I travel (also useful for noting exactly where the sun will fall). It helps to have a guide who knows where the sun will come up because you have to ready to shoot a 1/2 hour before it does, always tap local knowledge when possible.

Sunset Over Sunrise

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Sunset Pananorama

© Jarvis Grant For those over sized sun disks, use a long telephoto lens 300mm or more. Using a tele-converter will work as well, just as long as you can get up to 300mm. For this photograph of the Cathedral, I stitched three photographs together. While the long lens creates that great big disk, it also creates a very shallow field of view. So to increase my field of view, I made a horizontal stitched panorama using Photoshop′s PhotoMerge command. When in Photomerge, I used Reposition align instead of Auto to align the three file manually. Also be sure to use Auto Blend to allow Photoshop to create the Layer Masks for each layer.

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