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Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

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.


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