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Thread: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

  1. #1

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    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    I have, in the past, not been too fond of sunsets. I spent my career shooting weddings and portraits. I'm retired now, and would like to photograph some of the things I missed getting to this point. My question is - what settings is best for sunsets? Settings meaning, ASA, over or under exposure, or is it all done in post?
    Would appreciate any and all comments, and even an example. Thank you.

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Hi Emmett, there are a number of settings you could use but this image was a three shot HDR Tonemapped image at ISO 100, F5.6 and 0.50 sec (-2EV), 0.18 sec (0EV), and 0.04 sec (-2EV) taken about 20 minutes after the sun went down. It was also flipped horizontally.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    This one was taken a few minutes earlier at slightly faster shutter speeds (0EV was at 1/30 sec).

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????
    Last edited by FrankMi; 21st April 2012 at 02:19 AM.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    I think there are a couple of approaches:
    The "one shot" way by using GND filters and the "multiple shot" and involving some HDR processing afterwards.

    Each of these have their advantages and disadvantages and can be employed in different circumstances.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Cheat and get a graduated neutral density filter. I use a 2-stop filter.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????


    The alternative is to use HDRI:


    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????
    Last edited by Manfred M; 21st April 2012 at 04:20 AM.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    A few other thoughts.

    Sunsets (and sunrises) change very quickly both in terms of the whole event (there is no better illustration of just how quickly the Earth turns than watching a sunset over the sea) and in the colours in the sky and it is easy to miss a good shot. It is a good idea to be at your chosen place about 30-45 mins before the event.

    I find this

    http://photoephemeris.com/

    useful for sunsets and sunrises. It does cost for the iphone but is free for PCs and Macs. It gives the time and direction of the sun (and moon) rise and set for any location, for any day and is really useful for planning shots.

    While the sunset is probably the main photographic event there are good photos to be had in other directions - the low angle and quality of the light can give some good shots 90 or even 180 degrees away from the direction of the setting sun.


    Dave

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Flare is a bit of a problem; the only way I ever avoided that was to carefully look in the viewfinder to see if it can easily be removed and use a very good lens.

    Then of course I could cheat; I mean it depends where the sun is but sometimes it is possible to replace a blown out one. I've spent many wasted hours trying to get the sun in the picture and sometimes it is just plain too hard; e.g. on a boat in the afternoon.

    This one uses both HDR and a GND; I sort of hid it away since it has been heavily criticised for being too dark and I don't do borders like that anymore.

    I always try to get close to what I see, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't see anything much at the time.

    Sequence: {_MG_1608.CR2: TV=0.001266, AV=9.9, Bias=0.0} {_MG_1609.CR2: TV=0.005066, AV=9.9, Bias=0.0} {_MG_1610.CR2: TV=0.020263, AV=9.9, Bias=0.0}

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    This one isn't a sunset; it is an obvious cheat since you can't do HDR on a boat very easily and thinking about definition in the shadows, the sun was replaced.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    You could always hide the sun or wait a little longer even, another attempt at HDR I'm afraid and I think there was a reason why I've hidden this away:

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by Trailboss View Post
    I have, in the past, not been too fond of sunsets. I spent my career shooting weddings and portraits. I'm retired now, and would like to photograph some of the things I missed getting to this point. My question is - what settings is best for sunsets? Settings meaning, ASA, over or under exposure, or is it all done in post?
    Would appreciate any and all comments, and even an example. Thank you.
    Hi Emmett,

    It really depends on the dynamic range of the scene. If the dynamic range is high (eg shooting into the light, but still wishing to retain shadow detail) eg ...

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Then you'll need to employ HDR techniques such as using a GND filter or bracketed exposures. In these situations you'll want the camera in the configuration that captures the largest dynamic range possible - and that means ISO ("ASA") of 100 (for Canon - not sure if Nikon are using 100 or 200 these days), and it's essential to shoot a RAW exposure, and one that takes it right to the limits of over-exposure.

    If you're not worried about protecting shadow detail (ie a silhouette shot) then you generally won't need the GND filter or other HDR techniques. Eg ...

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Other variables include shutterspeed for motion effect, and aperture for DoF control ... so often a ND filter is needed (I use and highly recommend a Singh-Ray Vari-ND ND Filter) eg: These two from the same location (but different days). The first is (off memory 4 minutes, the second 0.3 sec)

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????


    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

  8. #8
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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by Tringa View Post
    +1 for that nifty little tool.
    Been using it for about half a year and can't imagine being without it anymore.

    And Colin - wonderful examples.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Ditto to thatguyfromvienna! I picked up that link on my first visit to CiC about a year ago. photoephemeris is even better than my 'Droid's app that shows all the data only for locations that I've pre-specified (which are also the ones I most often visit and for which I monitor the weather).

    v

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate all of them. I only have CS2, and can't do HDR. The GND filter is what I will try next. May I post one I shot, only did minimum post on it. Just doesn't seem to pop like I thought a sunset whould..
    Thanks again to you all.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by Trailboss View Post
    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate all of them. I only have CS2, and can't do HDR. The GND filter is what I will try next. May I post one I shot, only did minimum post on it. Just doesn't seem to pop like I thought a sunset whould..
    Thanks again to you all.
    Go for it Emmett. Post your images up here and we can have a look. Then give you our expert (?) opinion.

    If you want your images to "Pop", try going to 'Image', 'Adjustments', 'Levels' (I'm presuming the controls are the same in CS2), then under the histogram you'll find a slider, just shift that slightly one way then the other and the picture should take on a dramatic change.

    EDIT: BTW a similar tool to TPE exists on CiC tools, right here! I've had problems with TPE, but the CiC one works a treat.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Hi Emmett, first things first....watch the weather. This is likely my favorite sunset shot to date. It was ice cold at 10 degrees and weather moving in. I shot this with no filters F4.5 ISO 100 1/50sec. The only PP was to desaturate the red very slightly and sharpen. It is nearly straight out of the camera. The red was just a little deep and over powered.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

  13. #13

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Here's a couple from a little while ago, hope they come up OK.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Hi Emmett, first things first....watch the weather. This is likely my favorite sunset shot to date. It was ice cold at 10 degrees and weather moving in. I shot this with no filters F4.5 ISO 100 1/50sec. The only PP was to desaturate the red very slightly and sharpen. It is nearly straight out of the camera. The red was just a little deep and over powered.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????
    Paul, That is a very beautiful sunset. I'm envious.

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Thanks Emmett, it does not happen like this often. I nearly went home 20 mins prior to this as I did not see much for color, everything was just gold. When that sun dipped out of sight I saw a hint and stuck around. It was quite magnificent. Even the trees behind me were turning red. It pays to stay longer than you think once in a while.

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    jjbacoomba's Avatar
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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    OMG Paul! That just ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Thanks Joe.

    Emmett, I hope you don't mind. I took a quick play with the one that did show up. It is a nice shot but I see what you are saying. Being so small I am afraid my adjustments could have been better with a bit more to work with...but here is the very small amount that I did...

    I played with the red channel a little and then bumped the contrast slightly. I then gave a very minimal output sharpening.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

  18. #18
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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Lots of excellent advice here, all of it pertinent. One quality I find to be absolutely essential for a good sunset photograph is patience. Reading a sky is difficult. You get better at it through practice, but even then it will still surprise you. Many times the best photographic opportunity occurs well before the sun sets, or well after. Light is constantly shifting - sometimes your window of opportunity is extremely fleeting, maybe only seconds, so alertness is also a necessary quality along with patience.

    Photographing a good sunset is a lot like fishing, and if you have a hunter's outlook, you'll do well.

    I took the photograph below on Hunstanton Beach. I was only there for a night so I was hoping for something spectacular for this unique view on the east coast of England (it's the only spot where you can get a sunset over the sea thanks to the The Wash). As you might expect, a lot of photographers congregate there and this evening was no exception.

    A block bank of gray cloud had settled into the sky that night. It only got thicker as time went by. One by one, the photographers shook their heads, packed up their tripods and left the beach. I was just about the only one left when this happened.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Well worth the wait in my opinion. This is what sunset photography is all about.
    Last edited by musickna; 1st July 2012 at 03:37 PM.

  19. #19

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Thanks Joe.

    Emmett, I hope you don't mind. I took a quick play with the one that did show up. It is a nice shot but I see what you are saying. Being so small I am afraid my adjustments could have been better with a bit more to work with...but here is the very small amount that I did...

    I played with the red channel a little and then bumped the contrast slightly. I then gave a very minimal output sharpening.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????
    Thanks, Jeeperman, that works. I also notice I have a couple of dust spot on my sensor. Hate it when that happens, I'm not good at cleaning it.

  20. #20

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    Re: Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Quote Originally Posted by musickna View Post
    Lots of excellent advice here, all of it pertinent. One quality I find to be absolutely essential for a good sunset photograph is patience. Reading a sky is difficult. You get better at it through practice, but even then it will still surprise you. Many times the best photographic opportunity occurs well before the sun sets, or well after. Light is constantly shifting - sometimes your window of opportunity is extremely fleeting, maybe only seconds, so alertness is also a necessary quality along with patience.
    I agree - Very nice.
    Photographing a good sunset is a lot like fishing, and if you have a hunter's outlook, you'll do well.

    I took the photograph below on Hunstanton Beach. I was only there for a night so I was hoping for something spectacular for this unique view on the east coast of England (it's the only spot where you can get a sunset over the sea thanks to the The Wash). As you might expect, a lot of photographers congregate there and this evening was no exception.

    A block bank of gray cloud had settled into the sky that night. It only got thicker as time went by. One by one, the photographers shook their heads, packed up their tripods and left the beach. I was just about the only one left when this happened.

    Sunsets - What is the ????????????????

    Well worth the wait in my opinion. This is what sunset photography is all about.

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