- Become a better photographer today!
remember me:     

BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.

Photography Question 
Lisa Uvena

member since: 8/16/2007

How to Choose the White Balance for Sunsets

I have a Sony Super Steady Shot DSC-H2. When attempting sunrise photos, I have found that my colors flip and the sun reads yellow rather than red. Any suggestions? Thanks!

8/16/2007 6:46:32 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  With film, the color balance is fixed, usually for daylight. If the actual light source is different, then it affects the color cast. Thus sunsets and indoors with incandescent bulbs give a "warmer" red cast to photos, fluorescent lights tend toward green, etc. If "true" colors are desired, then the photographer used color-correcting filters (skylight, 80-, 81-, 82-, 83-series, FL-D, etc.)
With digital cameras the color sensitivity is not fixed at a single setting. Instead it can be adjusted for a wide range of lighting with the white balance control. On your H2, the white balance is probably set for AUTO and is trying to "correct" for the redder light at sunset. Try setting the WB to the Daylight or Cloudy settings. These settings should give the redder sunsets that you got with color film.

8/17/2007 5:48:44 AM

Kerry L. Walker

member since: 12/21/2004
  Lisa, Jon's advice is spot on, as usual. However, I want to look at things from a different angle. There is a sunset photo (sorry, no sunrise) in my gallery called D'Arbonne Sunset that displays the characteristics you are talking about wanting. It was shot with daylight balanced film. The sun itself is white (what do you expect with it that much overexposed) while the clouds around it fade to yellow and then red. The sky is a deep blue. The reflection of the sun off the water fades from a golden yellow to red, with the water blue in color. I guess all this makes my photo better than yours, right? No, wrong. It is just different. I personally like the colors in your photo. The yellow reflection of the sun on the red water gives it a somewhat surreal look that I like. By all means, set your camera to daylight balance and shoot away but go ahead and use other settings to see what you might get.

The only suggestion I would make is in regard to composition. I like whatever it is you have off to the right in the picture (sorry, these eyes are too old to tell in such a small image - dang the web, LOL) but I would like to see something in the background. It eould add more perspective.

8/17/2007 2:54:03 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  no mention of iso vs shutter speed and aperture.keep it of center.

8/17/2007 9:32:38 PM

Joseph Dlhopolsky

member since: 1/28/2005
  Try reducing the exposure by one or two stops. At sunset, everything else tends to be dark. Your camera's meter will try to make them neutral gray, thereby overexposing the sun.

8/21/2007 6:05:45 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  so now you've metered off the wrong part of the scene and joe has the only answer.
joe!!you cannot dictate a setting without explaining such.what were her settings?yes she overexposed.gee!yeah an increase in shutter speed would be better,but what actually did you mean,remember she's a newbie,what did you mean by,reduce the exposure by one or 2 stops?
i think ya got one photo in your gallery,effort vs emsquared.

8/21/2007 8:14:11 PM


To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.

Copyright 1996-2014, Inc. All Rights Reserved.