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Thread: Today's sunset

  1. #1

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    Today's sunset

    Hi.

    We had a beautiful sunset today and unluckily I was not near home to grab my camera on time.

    Anyway, when I got home I went out to catch the last ray of light of the day.

    I wasn't sure about what setting to use on the white-balance, since the streetlights were already on, so I used sunlight.

    I tried to get more of the sky on the shot, thinking of the sky as my subject. I also thought that the light posts would be nice in the shot.

    img_0419-r.jpg

    All comments will be appreciated.

    Toņo
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    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 2nd September 2011 at 09:12 PM. Reason: add image inline

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Today's sunset

    Hi Tono,

    I usually leave the White Balance 'as shot' for sunsets. For your image I would try a horizontal cropping as most of the best sky color is close to the horizon. I would also play with darkening the foreground and use the city a bit more as a patterned silhouette with some detail in it against the sky.

    If you repost your image full size, perhaps some of the folks on the forum may take a shot at modifying the image to show you alternative ideas on what you can do with this image.

    Sunsets are so common that everybody gets to see some very spectacular ones as they journey through life. However, because they are so unpredictable and fleeting, a really good sunset is a difficult image to capture.

    What makes a good sunset? For starters, a dramatic sky which is highly dependent on the position and type of clouds and how close, above or below, the sun is to the horizon. If the foreground makes an excellent image without the sunset, then it will usually make a better one with a sunset. If the foreground isn't all that interesting you can still get a good image if the foreground is a silhouette and the sky is very dramatic. If the sky isn't dramatic and the foreground isn't interesting, then the image will have a more limited appeal.

    You can increase your chances to get a really winning sunset by planning in advance.

    1. Be aware of the weather forecast. Not every day can produce a good sunset and it is weather dependent. The best chance is when the horizon to the West and just beyond is nearly clear of clouds but just above the horizon has an interesting cloud pattern. This happens most frequently where the prevailing winds blow West to East and rainy weather is passing through the area. The best conditions are when the clouds still extend to the horizon to the West (the storm may still be overhead but moving East), the sky is clear just beyond the horizon and the sun has gone just below the horizon. This allows the long red rays of the sun to light up the bottoms of the clouds near the horizon.

    2. Know where and when the sun will set. This can be determined in advance by using the Internet to predict the Azimuth for your location. Here is one of many resources available. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc...astronomy.html

    3. Choose the foreground in advance. Scout out a location that has and interesting foreground with a low horizon or where you can shoot from high enough to be able to see close to the horizon. Choose a camera position that will put the sun where you want it in the composition based on the azimuth you found in step 2. If the location includes water that can reflect the colors and patterns in the sky, all the better.

    4. Be in position about 20 minutes before sunset and shoot bracketed exposures on a tripod every few minutes until at least 20 minutes past the time the sun goes below the horizon.

    5. Keep a camera with you (even if it is just a point 'n shoot) whenever you know you'll be outside during the sunrise or sunset hours. You never know when a dramatic sunset will manifest itself.

    Here is an example where I went to Haigler Lake specifically to get a series of sunset pictures.

    Today's sunset

    In this case the foreground wasn't very interesting but the reflection in the lake made up for it.

    In the following image, the sunset wasn't very spectacular but when coupled with the interesting foreground and the reflections off the wet streets (a thunderstorm had just passed through), it works.

    Today's sunset

    I hope this have given you some ideas on how to improve your sunset photos.

  3. #3

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    Frank

    Thanks a lot for your detailed response. I tried to keep your words in mine. During September we had several nice sunsets, so here I'm posting some more pics. They are from different days, so some got better clouds that other.

    Let me know what you think about them.
    Toņo
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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th October 2011 at 12:25 AM.

  4. #4
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Today's sunset

    Looks like you are definitely improving, Toņo! Can you see how dependent we are on the location and shape of the clouds? Even though the sky is nicer (in my opinion) in the third one of the first series, to me the second one in that series is better overall owing to a more pleasing shape of the foreground. What do you think?

    Also, for the ones where the sun is still above the horizon, if it is hidden behind a cloud so that just the colors show through, is usually makes for a better image.

    Don't be discouraged, I haven't been able to shoot any sunsets even remotely close to the two I posted above in the last couple of months. You just gotta keep looking for the opportunity and be preparted for when it occurs. For the sunset on the lake it looked like the evening was gonna be a bust right up until the sun dropped below the horizon, then all h*** broke loose!
    Today's sunset

  5. #5

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    Re: Today's sunset

    Definitely the sky on the third is the best. BTW, that one is the only one I posted as shot. On the other I adjusted the brighness and contrast to get the silhoutte effect that you suggested.

    I agree the palm trees give a nice touch to the second pic, even when I feel the sun itself was a little too far to the left.
    Respect to the other, I as happy as I can be when you have to evade the power lines as much as possible... and still you get them in the picture... that's the problem of shooting pictures on a flat land, there is nowhere to go to get a better point of view... except getting the ladder to climb up to my home's roof.

    The picture by the lake is indeed beautiful.

    Well, I'll see if I can get more sunsets this year. Maybe I'll get lucky =)

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