BetterPhoto.com - Become a better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
     


Photography QnA: Taking Sunset and Sunrise Photos

Browse by Category | All New Questions | All New Responses | Q&A Home

Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Taking Sunset and Sunrise Photos

Wondering how best to take pictures of sunsets and clouds? How about how to get great sunrise photos? Check out this Q&A for answers.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 12 questions

  Next 2  >>
     
 
Photography Question 
Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
  1 .  Sunrise and Sunset: Predicting Colors
Hi Everyone,
Is there any way to predict the days in which the sky would show beautiful colors at sunrise or sunset? I guess there might be a way using weather forecast reports to expect it … don't really know. Thanks!

5/2/2007 2:48:38 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Hi Ali,
There are many factors affecting the colors at sunrise and sunset: what is the altitude of the viewer, what is the air density in the various air layers, what is the air humidity in the various air layers, how much DUST is there in the air in the various layers, how are different air layers interacting with eachother, etc. etc. It also varies widely per viewpoint/point of observation. So general predictions are useless anyway. Have fun!

5/2/2007 4:49:41 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Ali –
I really love shooting sunrise and sunset images, so I might have a few ideas to share with you. First, I have found that when the forecast calls for partly cloudy/partly sunny days that the sunrises/sunsets tend to be nicer. On a perfectly clear day, the sunrise can be pretty dull. The presence of clouds, as long as they are not heavy, can lend real atmosphere to any shot. Second; as W points out, there are many variables that determine when a sunrise will be the most colorful. I live on the coast and have found that sunrises over the ocean can be spectacular because of the reflection on the water. Even on stormy days and sometimes because the day is stormy, the light can be amazing. If you do not live near the ocean, try to find a body of water where the sun might reflect as it rises. If this is not practical, consider shooting a sunrise over hills or mountains; or through a stand of trees. A sunrise/sunset over a dull background will result in a dull image. Finally, just like in many things, learning how the light changes in your area according to weather and season variables will teach you how to determine when the best sunrises will occur.
It is important to know how to correctly determine exposure when shooting a sunrise/sunset. Keep in mind that you do not want to directly take a meter reading from the area right next to the rising sun. Instead, take your reading on a nearby patch of sky and set your exposure accordingly. If over water, take your reading from water that is indirectly lit by the sun. If shooting film – bracket by ½ to 1 full stop. I do this even when shooting digital, although in digital at least I can quickly check my exposure. Also, sometimes the best color and light is just before sunrise or just after sunset.
I hope this helps.
Irene

5/2/2007 5:32:50 AM

Aimeedphotography D. 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/9/2007
  Like Irene was saying your best bet would be to check the forcast ahead of time. Partly cloudy conditions in morning? Perfect! If that were the case do like Irene was saying and venture to hills and mountains to make a good profile and try capture a silhouette. So you got the clouds, the hills, now all you need are the vibrant colors. Sometimes it might not happen, but if your dead set on getting a "WOW" sunrise photo then as long as you shoot the silhouette then do the following steps: Upload your photos to you computer and go to "Image" (in Adobe CS2) then "Adjustments" then "Color Balance" and play around. That will get the end product if mother nature isn't willing.

Or you could always go old school and put a filter on your lense! That'll do the trick too.

But hopefully you won't have to go to all the trouble! Have fun!

5/2/2007 10:34:45 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  There is one element that has not been covered. Capturing the colors of sunrise/sunset is no different than any other aspect of photography. If you want the best results, you have to work for them. In this case, in order to understand the factors affecting the quality of a sunrise you need to get up long before the sunrise (check your local paper or Google sunrise/sunset for your area); head out to where you hope to see the best sunrise and then fail. I know it sounds a little odd; however, the only way that I learned how to predict good sunrise/sunset scenes was by failing to capture what I wanted the first time. You have to get there early because the best color is often just before and immediately after the sun comes up. If you are not ready you can miss the show completely. Yes, you can adjust colors in Photoshop and/or use filters, but the best images usually come from repeated attempts and finally learning what works best for you, in your chosen scene. As much as I like PS and as much as I use it, I still hate spending time in front of the monitor trying to correct a fault that could have been done better in the field. Just my two cents more!
Irene

5/2/2007 1:01:26 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  The best sunsets seem to occur after a heavy early evening thunderstorm passes from west to east. The setting sun will ignite the residual clouds into firey bands of red and orange if the timing is just right. You can also count on a great rainbow appearing in the eastern sky during these conditions.
In the heat of summer, a thick atmospheric haze will help to accentuate both sunrises and sunsets ... especially near urban areas where smog comes into play.

5/2/2007 7:31:43 PM

Aimeedphotography D. 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/9/2007
  So true Irene! I've also learned trial and error brings best results!

5/2/2007 7:39:45 PM

Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
  Wow.... Thnx very much guys... It's helpful anyway

The problem is that I'm far away from any open space so I have to know first how is it gonna be or I'll travel for a long distance for nothing...
but hey ... Good things come to those who wait ...:)

5/3/2007 1:29:58 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Then don't go travel for nothing: make it a vacation for a few days, or a short week. You'll have a chance to shoot the sunrise AND the sunset EVERY day.
And like Irene says, you will NEED more than one opportunity for a good sunrise anyway.

Good luck!

5/3/2007 3:49:10 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  i'll go with bob on this.storm fronts,high humidity,dust/pollutants give the best results.
do not plan a vacation just for that purpose unless your the best meteoroligist known.
there are so many factors and just being there is not one of them.
yet irene made a very good point.failure.now lets put that into perspective.it's like taking a class.
on the days you think it's stiffling,the heat and humidity are oppressive,very good time.
if you think it's so nice and it's cooled off,no.
go out and shoot when the heat and humidity will melt those crayons in photoshop.maybe take an airbrush class.
geeee.
never focus or meter off the sun.blap.put the sun 3/5ths in the scene.just right or left.never centered.but with expierence,as mentioned,the orb.big giant fireball.
best of luck,sam

5/3/2007 9:30:21 PM

Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
  Wow guys…. I really can't thank U enough… This is really very helpful n very kind of U
I live in Egypt, Irene…Far from the sea in the center of the capital, Cairo… not a very romantic place in the traditional way. But U know what? I have always wanted to live by the sea, just like U do. I hope one day I'll have enough money to buy a house by the sea or the ocean with few people around… that's the way I really wanna spend the rest of my life, but not yet. I have to have enough money to give up the luxurious expensive city life …a paradox. Any way … I believe in trial and error, learning is a feedback process in fact. And I'm always ready on the set enough time before the event. But as an amateur I'm trying to enrich my knowledge from experienced photographers like yourself. And I'm trying to benefit from my time to the max cause my college is very time consuming.
Sorry that I'm slow in responses
Thnx again guys W. , Irene, Aimee, Bob and Samuel

5/5/2007 5:41:03 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Ali –

I had to smile reading your post! I suspect that it is a human characteristic to always want to be someplace other than where we are. I would love to see Cairo and all of Egypt, in fact, most of that area of the world. I live on the ocean and long for the mountains – you live in the city and long for the sea. Ah, the paradoxes of being human! All kidding aside, I would think that you would have lots of wonderful backgrounds for a sunrise image. Forgive my geographic ignorance, but are you near any of the historic sites that are well known around the world? If so, they might make a nice background for a sunrise image.

Well, I hope that you enjoy learning how to best photograph your own area and that learning remains fun and rewarding. Post some of your images when you get time.

Irene

5/5/2007 6:27:16 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Irene brought up an excellent point: Always think ahead and plan your foreground elements. A unique geological structure, a tree or interesting shrub, a distant mountain range or as Irene mentioned, something recognizable that's regional or historic should be composed in the foreground.
This key element can play the role of "subject" for your photograph and will add a point of interest to that wonderful sunrise or sunset.
(You will however, need to illuminate foreground elements with fill-flash unless you are intending to create silhouettes.)
Bob

5/5/2007 4:56:13 PM

Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
 
 
 
Yes Irene U R right... it's a fundamental characteristic of Homo sapiens ... still I WANNA live by the sea ... not only find an interesting background for my shots...I just feel tired of city life... although it gets interesting sometimes
I live in EGYPT Irene... if U would revise the UNESCO statistics U would find that Egypt contains over half of the world's monuments and archeaologically active sites, mostly burried under cities or water. An endless treasure of beauty.
But I thank U for pointing out anyway.
These are some of my shots, but remember I'm STILL an AMATEUR so don't be hard on me. by the way... U have an EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL gallry Irene. But I doubt U have tried ur luck in contests, why is that?
Thnx too Bob

5/6/2007 9:55:30 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  hey ali,
one of those photos was a finalist.amateur.
your area usually doesn't exceed 15-20% humidity.not really good for great colors.
I used to go out a lot and take photos but after a few years it got to be where you can walk outside an hour before sunset and make a good decision.yes or no.
ther are no mountains,waterfalls or large bodies of water around here.i've resided in other states and been overseas,but for me there is no place like home.i can still visit the 3 room schoolhouse I attended in 1955.gawd.the bank I use was built in 1895.
amateurs,yes amateurs can take very good photos.don't think mistakes and fair shots/photos are limited to amateurs.never forget knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous and not beneficial to others seeking just to gain that knowledge just to know.
sam

5/6/2007 8:43:26 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Ali – your images are fine; you seem to have a good eye for interesting angles and composition. One thing though – and keep in mind this is just my opinion – your color seem over saturated on my monitor. Do you up the color in PS or other editing program? If so, you might want to back off just a tad. Otherwise, the images are nice.

Yes, I knew that you lived in Egypt, I just am unsure of the location for many of the amazing historic features that I have read about – sites such as the pyramids and the sphinx, etc. I would think that these would make marvelous subjects for photographing the sun at different angles. How about the delta area – are you near there and if so, wouldn’t this make a good background? As I said, like many in America, my knowledge of geography outside of North America, is pathetic!

Thank you for the compliment on my gallery. As to why I have not entered the contests; this is somewhat complicated. Until recently I have not felt that my work is of contest quality. I am thinking of entering in the nature or animal category.

Good luck in your image making.

Irene

5/7/2007 3:47:22 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  so what do you say.
painted,oversharping?amateur.
but I got a lesson from another member.
to let it go and not have an opinion,that a capture is a capture.wether tainted and had to hit the makeup room,it's a photo.
maybe it was tolerating pompous something.
i must be getting old timers.
in my generation we called it shucking and jiveing
not a personal attack ali,an opinion,sam

5/7/2007 6:18:34 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  If you knew more about film types you'd know more about how little there is to know in these misdirected photoshop/film is/ain't sermons.

Back to the flood filter

5/8/2007 3:52:22 AM

Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
  You're absolutely right Sam... and I'm gonna do my best to practice ur tips.And yes I believe U can take very beautiful shots if U have a good eye and ANY camera, but practice makes perfect.U too have a GREAAAAAT gallry... yet U didn't enter a contest apparently. By tjhe way... did U try some of ur portraits in B&W, I think they r gonna rock, and I assure U I have seen some winners within ur gallery. At last... was ur last post in English?
Irene... yes I had to up the colors in those 2 photos. They weren't taken by my current Canon A530 but with a very bad Benque c310..... very cheap. I didn't know much then about photography nor cameras. So I had to extensively correct the images on my PSCS2.They are a bit saturated but if they are VERY then I think there might be smth with my monitor.
I generally tend to do alot of work on most of my shots... the cause is that I used to paint oil pastel, when I had 2 stop for the tight time schedule in college I felt bad... so I went with a compensation ... Photography(quick) and post processing n (funny...nearest to painting).
by the way... these 2 colored posted images were the first shots I ever shot in my entire life.And for God's sake... have some guts and enter the contest, what r u gonna lose anyway. I think U 2 R gonna get smth in the contest.
Thnx again
Ali

5/8/2007 9:25:17 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  yes ali,it was in my english.kinda like the cliff notes of rambling.
gregory knows i'm a troublemaker,yet still bites some of the time.as in fishing,not the other.
your photos are your photos ali,to do with as you will.as in all cases,such as my opinion,it's just one.mine.there might be a thousand that disagree,but so far,even here,i can say what I think.
however,since you grew up in such historic a place,which we all had to study in history classand were given to believe it was somewhat the cradle of civilization,it all may seem old hat to you.still your vision and dream is to avoid all that and find a place on the ocean,with a few to share the surroundings,sunsets,tranquility and just maybe a slower pace where thoughts can be collected.my best in your search.
I won't be looking over your shoulder at your monitor,maybe a peek here and there.
sometimes knowledge is something we really didn't want.the grass really greener on your side of the fence as some may believe?
life is a contest,i hope your entry of that ocean side home becomes a finalist,sam

5/9/2007 7:18:50 PM

Ali M. Abougazia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2007
 
 
 
Thnx again Sam... ur words means alot to me

5/11/2007 6:48:20 AM

Frank M. Melchior

member since: 10/17/2005
  Don't forget the moon as an added element, check the moon schedule in your paper, where I live, the full moon normally rises around sunset.

Frank

5/11/2007 9:49:52 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  ah frank,the moon is a great inclusion.but doesen't rise at that given time.so if ali could give us the full moon over these historic sites,as we perceive them,ahh.
but why should ali give us what we wish to percieve?
a nice night here ali,80 some percent humidity,took some shots of the setting sun behind an old silo.
still ali,where some of us brush off the south bound train blowing it's whistle.20 miles off,and not listening.
really not sure but I think pretence is a contest.ok

5/11/2007 7:31:28 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Erica Crawford

member since: 5/28/2005
  2 .  Shooting Portraits Against a Sunset Sky
Hi, all you experienced photographers, I have just started shooting weddings and will be doing my first in Hawaii on a beach at sunset. I know how to do silhouettes but I am looking for tips on flash use to get the couple in the picture looking great with the sunset in the background. Thanks.

10/29/2006 7:47:40 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Fill-flash with one stop under exposure. I'd bracket for good measure. If this is for the formal photos, you may want to consider two flash guns, off-camera wireless if possible, on their own light stands/tripods, and two reflectors held by assistants to open up shadows on the couple.
Want to know for sure? Then do a test run the night before, with somebody else.

10/29/2006 9:12:00 PM

Erica Crawford

member since: 5/28/2005
  W. thanks for the response, I have been giving some thought to the test run idea and will definatly try that. erica

10/31/2006 12:31:01 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
G .G. Leger
BetterPhoto Member
Contact G .G.
G .G.'s Gallery

member since: 10/14/2005
  3 .  Photographing Silhouettes
I just wanted some advice on taking sunsets and sunrises with digital cameras. Is it true you should take these shots a little higher or lower from the sun or slightly to the side? And should your flash be on? I really want to get better at these shots. And if you are using a subject in this shot, what is the best angle? Off to the side some?

10/21/2005 12:27:26 PM

Justin B. Renshaw
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/27/2005
  If you want a silhouette, don't use flash and allow the camera to meter for the background/sunlight. If you want detail in your subject, use flash.

10/21/2005 1:11:34 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Follow Justin's advice with these parameters in mind:

-Don't include the sun in the frame when metering.

-Meter off a blue portion of the sky.

-Watch for lens flare if you re-compose to include the sun in the same frame with your silhouettes.

10/21/2005 3:06:49 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  Welcome G.G.,
By subject, do you mean a person, tree, mountain? All? There's a rule of thirds, but it doesn't always apply. If you want some ideas, you can walk through my gallery for free. You don't have to include the sun for good sunset pics or silhouettes.
hth, sam

10/22/2005 11:16:06 AM

  Thanks so much all of you, I am going to take your advice and try it out.
I have only been taking pictures for a bout a year now, and I have soooo much to learn. Have a Blessed Day!! G.G.

10/22/2005 1:09:51 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Anndrea 

member since: 10/4/2002
  4 .  How to Photograph a Group at Sunset
My shoot will be of 8-10 people on a golf course about 1/2 hour before sunset. I want to make sure everyone is in focus. I have a Nikon N60, using Portra 400, and was planning on my Tamron 28-105mm 1:4-5.6D vs. Nikkor 35-80mm 1:4-5.6D or Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6G. Is the Tamron the lens to use? Also, I want to shoot at a small aperture/large f-stop# ... correct? Any advice is much appreciated!

10/21/2005 10:25:44 AM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Anndrea, there are a lot of variables in there, but here's an overview:

First, I presume you will position the group so they are facing the sun - in order to be illuminated by it. If you face into the (beautiful) sunset, then the group will become a silhouette of shadow because the sun will likely cause the meter to overcompensate and reduce exposure to the film. Or, you could have the group with the sunset behind them, but will need to use a flash to add lighting to the people (so-called "fill flash").

As for lens choice - it would seem that the wider angle focal lengths are most appropriate - assuming you plan to be standing relatively close to the gang. If you'll be taking them from 75 feet away, then you might need the longer lens. The difference between 28mm and 35mm is noticeable, so perhaps the Tamron at 28-ish mm would be a better choice. If that's too wide, you can always zoom in - while you can't "zoom out" from 35mm on the Nikkor lens. Since they're both the same speed, there's no advantage there. And while the Nikkor might be slightly better optically, unless you're planning to make a poster-sized print, the difference is negligible.

You are generally right about what f-stop to use - the smaller aperture (higher f-number) will give greater depth of field, keeping everyone in focus (if they're standing in 3 rows, for instance). However, you might prefer to NOT have too much DOF, because it might look nicer if the group is sharp but the background behind them (trees and bushes, say) are out of focus - this is where you use the depth-of-field preview button on the camera (I think the N60 has one) - just to view through the lens while it's stopped down to f5.6 or 11 or whatever the meter indicates.

The other consideration on f-stop is that the smaller the aperture, the longer the required shutter speed to compensate. And too slow a shutter speed means potential blur. Even if you put the camera on a tripod (which you should, if at all possible), the motion of the people in the picture will cause them to blur out at too slow a shutter speed.

And you thought this would be easy, eh? ... Final thought: Why not go out tonight and take some shots in similar circumstances? Any field around sunset with a subject - could be a dog or a herd of cats - and experiment with various f-stops and shutter speeds. Take note - what f-stop, shutter speed (and flash setting) you used on each picture. Then get them developed at the 1-hour kiosk someplace to see which gives the best results.

10/21/2005 11:05:32 AM

Anndrea 

member since: 10/4/2002
  Bob-
Thanks for the advice. I've shot this time of day on a golf course before but never with this many people. I was planning on taking some w/flash and some without. I have a Nikon SB-50Dx. Will this even provide any fill?
Thanks again!

10/22/2005 1:03:15 PM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Well, I would think that for the distance at which you'll have to position yourself and the width of the group, it's unlikely that the on-camera flash will provide enough fill light to make a difference. I would think this is another variable to test.

10/24/2005 6:58:14 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  At 1/2 hour before sunset, yes, you will have that glorious color on their faces. But you could also turn them around and get that sunlight behind them. Don't use auto-exposure. Meter with an incident meter, or meter with your camera at a part of the sky that doesn't include the sun. Just remember that your exposure changes every few minutes with the setting sun. Now, you must add fill flash. You could also put an amber filter over the flash to give the group that sunset-look.

Then, after the sun slips below the horizon, do something even better: a twilight portrait. This is the most beautiful time of day, as the sky will turn into a glorious kaleidescope of color. Meter for the ambient light, UNDERexpose it by one stop to bring out the color of the sky, and expose the flash correctly for the group. Simply lovely!

But don't forget the tripod, because your exposure will probably be f/5.6 at 1/15th or even 1/8th of a second with 800 or 400-speed film.

10/25/2005 6:21:50 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Kathy L. Pollick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2005
  5 .  Why Is This Picture So BAD???
 
OK. I know I'm just learning, but the other morning on my way to work I saw this beautiful sunrise and had to stop to take a picture. It was almost daylight out (around 7:30 am) but the sun peeking over the horizon still lit up the sky. WHY does everything look so black in the pics, and why is there a reddish circle over on the right side? I used a flash, which maybe I shouldn't have and I'm not certain, but I may have had a circular polarizer on also.

10/7/2005 11:13:22 AM

Karen E. Michaels
karenemichaels.com

member since: 8/24/2004
  You have answered your own question. Polarized filter and flash at sunrise do not mix.

10/7/2005 12:25:23 PM

Kerry L. Walker

member since: 12/21/2004
  You also need to understand that, at sunset, the light from the sky is so much brighter than the light in the foreground that you will either get a silhouette (if you meter off the sky) or blow out the sky (if you meter off the foreground). You might try using a split (graduated) ND filter, which will cut down on the light from the sky.

10/7/2005 12:29:04 PM

Kathy L. Pollick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2005
  Ahhh... Thanks much. Next time I'll know better!!!

10/7/2005 12:29:18 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Ditto, Karen and Kerry. The flash is only good for lighting near subjects. It cannot light the distant trees. The polarizer is most effect when the sun is 90° to the direction you are shooting. Straight into the sun, it is least effective, and its additional glass surfaces add to flare and ghosting (the reddish circle on the right side).

10/7/2005 2:42:12 PM

Caiti M. Goeden

member since: 7/6/2005
  I dont know very much about photography either but the advice that helps me and that may help you is to watch your horizons and keep them straight as possible.

*** caiti

10/7/2005 6:09:01 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  I see several problems.
One, what film were you using? There's a lot of grain in the photo. You want to use 100 ASA film for shots like this, and a tripod.
Two, the reflection in your photo could be the result of the filter (specifically, a reflection off the inside of the filter). You don't want, or need, polarized filters when shooting into the sun like this.
Three, as someone said, when the light levels vary this widely across your picture, you have four choices: Expose for the sky (giving a black ground); expose for the ground (blowing out the sky); using a graduated neutral-density filter so you can get both ground and sky; or shooting two photos (one for the sky, one for the ground) and blending them in an image editor (you'll need to shoot from a tripod to have a chance to pull this off successfully).
Since you're using a film camera, the graduated ND filter approach is the easiest. You can buy several with different stop differences... then meter the sky, meter the foreground, figure the difference in stops, and use the appropriate grad filter.
Keep in mind also that the eye can capture much more variances in light levels than film (or digital) cameras, so unless you expose for the sky in some manner (as described above) you will have no chance of capturing even some of the different light levels that make sunrises and sunsets so intriguing.

10/8/2005 11:56:30 PM

Harry Lichtman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/23/2004
  Another compositional element that you may try, or have heard, is to avoid placing the horizon dead center. If there is fantastic sky color(which usually means some clouds, let them fill more of the frame. SInce there aren't many clouds, I'm not sure if the image would have worked, unless there was some very interesting foreground element. I've learned that sometimes one has to just enjoy the sunrise or sunset, and realize on film it may not make a great shot. Unfortunately, this is learned through pictures that didn't turn out the way we thought. Being selective takes some time to learn.

10/11/2005 12:33:38 PM

Kathy L. Pollick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2005
  Thanks all of you for your responses. Sounds to me, it would be easiest to sit back & enjoy the view as opposed to trying to photo it... lol. I used a 400 film. That's what was in the camera. I will try to find the ND filter as I don't have a good software editing program yet. Unfortunately, I haven't learned yet about metering things, so even though I know what you are talking about... I'm not sure yet how to do it. I haven't gotten thru Bryan Peterson's book yet about Exposuring, so maybe it will be in there somewhere.... hopefully. But thanks for the help. Guess the only way to learn these things is to keep trying.

10/11/2005 12:41:58 PM

Harry Lichtman

member since: 8/28/2004
  Hi Kathy, me again. I wouldn't spend too much $ on a "good" photo editing program yet, if you're trying to master exposure. A simple $30 - $40 program like MGI PhotoSuite will be more than adequate. Though there are more expensive options out there, I learned on this simple, but full featured software and it was not too frustrating! LOL- hope the advice & comments were constructively critical.

Harry

10/11/2005 3:14:20 PM

Choo Choo Love
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/15/2004
  Hi Kathy:

I'm pretty new at photography too but I simply take sunrise and sunset shots on Landscape mode with my Canon digital Rebel XT. I don't know if you have a digital or not or if your camera has Landscape modes? Landscape mode works out real well for me for still scenery of sunsets and sunrises.

I've also taken some shots where there's a sun spot showing and I learned from Sam and Chris and Jon and others on this forum (the best forum with unbelievable people, by the way) is not to shoot at the sun, to focus on a cloud and to wait for the sun to go down a little (maybe behind some trees or just below a roof but still giving you vivid colors).

If there are geese or birds flying in it, then I use creative mode where I adjust the shutter speed and ISO and the noise filter. I only learned to do that a week ago!

You can take a look at my gallery. I have two sunset shots on it using the Landscape mode.

Choo

10/11/2005 8:53:17 PM

Kathy L. Pollick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2005
  I have 3 or 4 cheap editing softwares (Adobe Photo Deluxe, Kodak Imaging, & a couple others I can't remember the name of)& they do the very basic in editing. I would like to get PS - someday - but for now I'll use what I have & try to perfect the actual picture taking first. Choo, no I don't have a digital yet, either. Someday I hope to. I don't think my camera has a landscape mode. I went thru the book a few times looking at different features, but it also is pretty basic. I like your Geese pictures. I also love geese & ducks. Used to have some as pets. I enjoy the critiquing, whether good or bad. That's how I learn. So pick away. I appreciate all the help!!!

10/12/2005 5:18:13 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Amy Grindell

member since: 5/1/2005
  6 .  How to Shoot Silhouettes Against a Sunset
I want to take a picture of a person all black in the foreground and a colored sunset in the background. Would I need different equipment for that? I have a Nikon SLR 70.

5/1/2005 11:43:37 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Simply meter off the background to the left or right of the sun (preferably a blue portion of the sky), and shoot at that setting. Everything in the foreground will silhouette.

5/1/2005 11:47:43 AM

Dev Mukherjee

member since: 12/21/2002
  In addition to what Bob said, make sure you do not use the flash while shooting the silhouette. Your camera may also inadvertently pop up the flash in certain exposure modes. You have to safeguard against that.
-- dev.

5/3/2005 10:11:18 AM

member 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/18/2004
  Hi Bob,
The silhouette attempts I've done, the foreground wasn't quite totally silhouetted ... should I close my lens down by 1 stop to better ensure a complete silhouette?
Thanks.

5/3/2005 11:40:27 AM

Kerry L. Walker

member since: 12/21/2004
  I was going to suggest that you shoot a couple of extra shots, at 1 and 2 stops overexposure. Make sure your lab doesn't try to correct for the foreground too.

5/3/2005 12:07:02 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Carrie,
To insure that your foreground subjects will silhouette, there needs to be at least 3 or 4 stops difference between your subject and the brighter background. (Having your subjects wear dark clothing makes this easier to accomplish.) As Kerry W. mentioned, bracketing is always wise. Just be sure to use the meter reading off the SKY (not the subject) as your starting point.

This link will show an example using this process:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=326042

5/3/2005 2:30:28 PM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  You can also add a colored filter for a more dramatic effect. Any color will work, depending on the effect you want. I use orange and cyan filters. Orange has a warmer look, and the cyan one (bluish) has a colder look.

5/4/2005 2:28:46 PM

member 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/18/2004
  thanks, bob. but i've done that in the past and i'm shooting candids, and I still didn't get a total siloutte.

here's a pic of a great silouette http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=755862&catID=&style=&rowNumber=16&memberID=74482


5/4/2005 3:40:17 PM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Carrie - You may have been overexposing your background. Meter the ambient light instead of off the sky, and then close the lens down by one stop, but make sure that the reading off the shadow side of your subject is 4 stops less. It will help if the sun is low in the sky. This should work for you.

5/4/2005 3:47:10 PM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
 
 
 
Aha! Carrie - I just thought of something else. Could it be that your exposure and technique are correct, but your lab is printing your silhouettes too light? This happened to me just yesterday; I had to ask for another print. Here is a copy of the image that I uploaded.

5/5/2005 7:06:00 PM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
 
 
 
Uh, oh, upload didn't work. I'm gonna try again, and if nothing happens, I apologize!

5/5/2005 7:29:44 PM

member 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/18/2004
  Maria - forgot to mention, I have a digital. So thank goodness I can make my corrections/modifications immediately.

Thanks, Bob - for me I think somehow understanding the stop differences better 'registered' than anything else. Thanks!

and Thank you, Kerry - sometimes in the midst of my frustration, I can forget some of the most useful yet basic tool ever! Thanks for reminding me about bracketing (I have a digital, so no worries of the film labs).

5/10/2005 11:46:42 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Willard Andre Hutt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/6/2000
  7 .  How to Shoot Silhouettes Against a Sunset
How do I adjust the shutter speed to capture action and still get enough light to see images?

12/8/2004 2:08:29 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Your shutter speed will depend upon what type of action you are attempting to capture (i.e., someone walking, someone running, birds flying, etc.). If you are looking to freeze action, something around 1/250 second or faster should cover most scenarios.
To "get enough light", set your shutter to 1/250 and meter off a blue portion of the distant sky (without the sun in the frame), and set your aperture to the recommended setting for that meter reading.
This setting will show your silhouettes against a natural-looking background, and freeze the action of the silhouettes in the foreground.
Note: your depth of field may be shallow with a slow film or low ISO setting.

12/8/2004 3:10:29 PM

Daryl R. Lucarelli
BetterPhoto Member
daryllucarelli.com

member since: 3/25/2004
  Additional info .... I live at the beach in San Clemente California and I take ALOT of sunsets and I have found also that I usually always underexposure all of my sunset shots by 1/3 to 1 full stop so I get great color saturation..... most the 1/3 stop...if you get greedya nd go to much you will loose to much detail....try it you may like it. Also, just for fun...on a sunset shoot when you stay after until it is getting dark after the actual sunset but with colors in the sky trying taking a images with your white balance set to the "tungsten" filter. this can add a "cool" effect sometimes. (technically, I do not know why, but it does create some great images that have a different feel to them). Daryl Lucarelli

12/15/2004 4:08:07 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Robin M. Misner

member since: 4/15/2004
  8 .  Shooting Sunsets
I have a Nikon N-80 with sb-80 flash. Can I take pictures of the sunset using auto, or will the pictures not turn out? And how do I take sunset pictures?

10/1/2004 9:44:16 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  Robin,
Full auto should give you great sunset pictures, Don't focus directly on the sun. Manual focus is for tweaking.

10/1/2004 2:50:23 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  If the "auto" you are referring to is auto-EXPOSURE ... try to lock the exposure setting onto a blue portion of the sky to the right or left of the sun (without the sun in the viewfinder).
Then, using that setting, re-compose to include the sun in the frame if you want. (This is best accomplished in full-manual mode, though.)

10/1/2004 3:03:01 PM

Mary L. Lemley

member since: 8/31/2004
 
 
 
Hi! While I have never been a professional photographer, I have been taking sunsets for more years than I can count, with a Canon AE-1 manual focus camera. Using Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority works also. Bracketing is one way to actually see end results, and snap until the sun goes down. Also if it's colorful, make sure you check out the eastern sky as well - if there are some clouds, it's equally beautiful with color! Mary L.

10/5/2004 1:42:05 PM

Jeanne Hansen

member since: 7/6/2004
  Hi Robin, I too love shooting sunsets. I use aperture priority and Fuji Velvia for sunsets, and I wait until after the sun dips below the horizon to start shooting. I shoot for 30 to 60 minutes until it's so dark I can't see the camera settings. The most delicious surprise when I get my film developed is that very often, the last picture of the evening is the best. This works best if the sky is either clear or only has wispy clouds. Have fun!

10/5/2004 8:06:54 PM

Tracy Finnegan

member since: 8/4/2004
 
 
 
Shooting sunsets or sunrises for that matter can be quite fun. If you do use the auto features on your camera, watch where you place the sun in the photo. If placed in the center of the photo, the settings will darken the photo and you can get quite "moody" images with very neat effects, even though it is actually quite light out. More shadows will also occur. If the sun is off to the side, the photo will turn out lighter and the effects less dramatic. Compare the photos attached and see how the lighting changes when in reality these photos were all taken within minutes of each other. Have fun playing with your own camera and the available settings and then start creating new and wonderful images! You might me surprised at what turns out.

11/3/2004 6:10:36 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Vadim Boriskevich

member since: 8/26/2004
  9 .  Sunset and Sunrise
Hi. I have a few questions.
1. To photograph a sunset/sunrise, I read that it is better to meter off of the left or right side of the sun. So, to get a better shot, I have to get the settings from the either side, then change it to Manual or Aperture mode and set both settings or the aperture and then compose my picture?
2. What is the best film to capture both views (sunrise is much brighter than sunset, I think )?
Thank you.

9/2/2004 8:58:34 AM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/9/2003
  Yes, metering from either side of where the sun is, and not including it in your exposure reading, is a good way to get a better exposure for sunrise/sunsets. You would have to either lock the exposure if you are in "auto" modes, or change it manually so it doesn't shift when you recompose your picture.
As to films, the print films will give you more latitude for extreme exposures like this, but slide films can also capture it.
Good luck!

9/2/2004 7:17:13 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  I concur with Brenda's recommendations, to record the sunrise/set as closely as possible to how it appeared to the naked eye. If there are white clouds present, meter off a blue area of the sky (without the sun in the frame). This will help to bring out more detail if you are including foreground elements. And full-manual, with a tripod, is the best way to do this.

9/3/2004 12:50:56 PM

Vadim Boriskevich

member since: 8/26/2004
  Thank you. What speed film should I use for better results?

9/4/2004 6:29:34 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Any print or slide film designed for outdoor use will work. Slow films (100 ISO and lower) will show less grain.

9/4/2004 6:38:40 AM

Vadim Boriskevich

member since: 8/26/2004
  Bob,
I thought 100 is for a bright and sunny days ... Thanks, I'll try it and let you know. I just bought Jim's book for beginners and reading. Got to start wasting some film and practice.

9/4/2004 10:14:33 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  100 speed is great for landscapes, sunsets, etc., but it does require longer shutter speeds ... (which shouldn't matter, if you are using your tripod.) Good luck "practicing", and don't forget to bracket exposures.

9/4/2004 12:42:53 PM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  I meter as I usually would and then under expose,a stop or so for best results.

9/7/2004 12:28:32 PM

 

4/19/2005 3:27:22 PM

Rohan Cooke

member since: 6/24/2004
  What advice and set up would you use for a photo shoot of still products like beers etc.

Rohan

6/14/2006 3:13:20 PM

Kevin Ekstrom
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/20/2005
 
 
 
Just meter to the left or right of the sun lock in an frame your shot. It's really simple.

Thats exactly wht I did with this image.

6/15/2006 3:22:53 AM

Brock E. Litton

member since: 5/6/2005
  this is just my 2 cents but if you have photoshop CS2 you can spotmeter the brightest part of the sky that you want detail in then spotmeter the darkest part of your scene that you want detail in then set your camera to manual, set the desired aperture, make sure your camera is on a tripod and take 5-9 pictures that include the meter reading from the bright part of the scene down to the meter reading of the dark part of the scene. Then you can open all of those images up in Photoshop CS2 by going to File, automate, merge to HDR. Then Photoshop merges all those images together to make one image with great dynamic range. I have an example on my website under the landscapes gallery called columbia river gorge sunrise. It was a composite of 9 images.Remember also if you shoot RAW you will have to convert to JPEG before HDR will work.Thats the only thing I have PHotoshop CS2 for is that awsome little tool

Brock

6/15/2006 7:09:04 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Photoshop does give you the ability to merge pictures, but I still shoot with a GND. It might be that I am still hanging on to my film days ;-) but I like taking the time to set the GND, meter, bracket, and not having to work that much in PS.

6/15/2006 11:24:11 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  Place a polarizing filter on your lens and meyer dead on to the sun. You'll be amazrd at the result.

This is not to say that the advisories above are wrong. Rather - a new opportunity.

6/16/2006 3:48:57 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Frank P. Luongo
Contact Frank
Frank's Gallery
francislphotography.com

member since: 6/7/2004
  10 .  Properly Exposing a Sunset
I think I have a fundamental understanding of photographing sunsets. I have a scene in mind, with a setting sun across a western river. Large black rocks are the Palisades, almost mountainous structures at the same approximate distance as the sunset.
Do I take a reading off the sky? How does size of sun in scene affect metering technique? Thanks.

8/24/2004 3:42:22 PM

  Frank-
My sunset technique is to meter off the sky either to the right or left side of the sunset. I make sure that none of the sun is in the frame. I also make sure that my lens is not being flared by the sun as that will effect exposure also. If it is a fabulous sunset, I might bracket as well.

8/24/2004 5:12:55 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Charlie's response is correct to render the sunset as it appeared to the naked eye. A general rule of thumb when shooting into a sunrise/sunset: If it's uncomfortable to look at, it's too bright to meter directly. In this case, follow the advice above.
Quite often, though, especially during the summer months, the sun is obscured by haze as it rises or sets and you can meter with the sun in the frame with great results.
With either scenario, shoot fast to get as many frames as possible, and bracket.

8/24/2004 5:36:42 PM

Daniel J. Nolan
dannolansphotography.com

member since: 1/24/2003
 
 
  Boys Fishing
Boys Fishing
 
  Sunrise Seagull
Sunrise Seagull
 
  God Bless America
God Bless America
 
  Marsha Kayaking
Marsha Kayaking
 
 
Frank - It depends on what other items are to be in your sunset picture ie: silhouettes of trees, buildings, people, etc. If you don't want a silhouette, but want some shadow detail in the foreground item, then a fill flash might be necessary if the item is close enough (15 ft +/-). If there is only mountains and clouds or plain sky, then I read directly into the sun, then open up one stop. Most importantly bracket, always bracket a sunset. At least 1 and 2 stops. If you don't meter the sun then most likely it will be over-exposed and will reguire much "burning in" to save. I'd rather lighten an area of a photo than darken it since I find that shadow detail is easier to retrieve. This is especially true in digital photography. If you are waiting to shoot a bird or plane or other in flight in front of a sunset, then you don't have the option of bracketing. So, then read the sun, open up 1 stop, then wait for your object.
Good Luck, Dan Nolan

8/31/2004 11:28:53 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  The other folks have answered correctly.

But, if you want something really dramatic AND, assuming you've got great subject matter, arm your camera with a polarizing filter. Set it on Program or f/11 on Aperture Priority. Aim directly into the sun and shoot.

You'll find that white clouds might turn black and the sun beams directly at you. I've tried this technique in Hawaii, in the Canadian Northwest and at the Jersey Shore.

Goos Luck.

9/1/2004 3:39:47 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
  Next 2  >>

Copyright © 1996-2014 BetterPhoto.com, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.