PDA

View Full Version : Sunset Tips and Techniques



aparmley
05-10-2005, 06:17 PM
I apologize if this has already been asked and answered, but maybe it will be good to bring it back up.

First off great sunset photos guys over in the photo gallery forum! I enjoyed them greatly.

I have not had good luck catching sunsets with my new XT. I am having difficulty trying to figure it out. The results I get are a completely washed out sky... I have deleted the pictures but maybe If I can describe them it will help. I was attemping to capture the sun setting, early in the evening, so its still a little bright, but the sun was setting and there were clouds moving in blocking the sun making very intresting light paterns across the sky... what I ended up with were very dark clouds and washed out sky... the shutter speeds were very quick upwards of 1/1000 sec and I tried aperatures ranging from 1.8-16. the smaller aperatures [8.0 and up] resulted in more accurate pictures but still were far too bright to caputer the detailed edge of the cloud blocking the sun as well as the colors in the sky... I am currently working on figuring it out but if anyone can share a tip or two I would be most appreciative.

speaklightly
05-10-2005, 07:02 PM
Andrew-

The goal is to (1) record what you are seeing with your eyes, and (2) to enhance the color of the sunset. To accomplish this you can also do two things:

(1) you can use exposure compensation on the minus side which will very slightly reduce your exposure and therefore, enhance the colors within the photo.

(2) you can set the digital camera to aperture preference, and begin reducing the aperture while observing the camera's LCD. It is the same effect as the procedure listed above, but you are reducing the exposure using the aperture preference mode instead of exposure control.

Sarah Joyce

Bluedog
05-10-2005, 07:21 PM
Just a side note Andrew. I keep my XT on center point AF/Evaluative Metering 99% of the time.

John_Reed
05-10-2005, 07:40 PM
I apologize if this has already been asked and answered, but maybe it will be good to bring it back up.

First off great sunset photos guys over in the photo gallery forum! I enjoyed them greatly.

I have not had good luck catching sunsets with my new XT. I am having difficulty trying to figure it out. The results I get are a completely washed out sky... I have deleted the pictures but maybe If I can describe them it will help. I was attemping to capture the sun setting, early in the evening, so its still a little bright, but the sun was setting and there were clouds moving in blocking the sun making very intresting light paterns across the sky... what I ended up with were very dark clouds and washed out sky... the shutter speeds were very quick upwards of 1/1000 sec and I tried aperatures ranging from 1.8-16. the smaller aperatures [8.0 and up] resulted in more accurate pictures but still were far too bright to caputer the detailed edge of the cloud blocking the sun as well as the colors in the sky... I am currently working on figuring it out but if anyone can share a tip or two I would be most appreciative.Set your camera for spot metering, and in that mode, point it at the sky, and move the spot until you see the overall lighting effect you want, then freeze it by half-depressing the shutter button, when you've got AE and AF lock, then re-frame and shoot.

Bald Eagle
05-10-2005, 07:46 PM
just my 2 cents worth. LOWER your ISO speed to 100 or 200. works much better. hope this helps.

aparmley
05-11-2005, 03:08 PM
I have been using low ISOs and I do have my camera set to center point focus, and metering... hmm... [scrathing my head]. I have noticed the same result with shooting pictures of my pup running underneath a shady tree it will be too dark to make him out while the background is bright as heck... oh well... stuff I need to figure out I suppose...

emalvick
05-11-2005, 03:20 PM
I don't know much about the camera, but if it has a contrast setting, perhaps it is set too high.

Last night I was shooting sunsets with my Panasonic FZ15. I've done a lot of sunsets with it, and I find it quite challenging to really get a great shot with detail on the foreground subjects with the sun in the background. If I meter for the darker subjects, the background gets washed out. If I meter for the sun or sky, the foreground is very underexposed. I end up metering somewhere in the "middle" as John_Reed suggested. I usually end up with a bit of the sky washed out and the trees too dark.

However, I can use a photo editing program to work on the darker parts of the image. My goal usually is to get the sky looking as I see it with great coloring. I also find that the foreground being dark can improve an image by keeping the emphasis on the sky with enough of a silhouette to make a great shot. Too much detail in the foreground objects may become too busy and unrealistic if the shadows don't look right (too bright).

It seems that if you are shooting at a 1/1000 shutter speed that it must be quite bright, which explains the dark foreground. However, because the sky is being washed out on you, perhaps it really needs to be faster.

The only other suggestion I can think of is a neutral density filter or a graduated filter so that the ND portion is on the sky. This could help balance the shot too.

Good luck.

Erik

aparmley
05-11-2005, 03:59 PM
Thanks E... I am currently looking at filters... I think you're right though, I need to be exposing for the sky... makes perfect sense... I'll give it another go tonight if I can sneak out...

Bluedog
05-11-2005, 04:07 PM
For sure meter on the Sky but not closet to the Sun.

John_Reed
05-11-2005, 04:42 PM
The reason I advocate spot metering on the sky itself is that my experience has always been that, left to any kind of "averaging," a beautiful sky will get washed out, over-exposed, when combined with the ground scenery itself, usually much darker. If you use "averaging" exposure, the sky gets washed out, the ground details show up OK. If you really want the beauty of the sky scene, you can "dial it in" to your taste using spot metering, and pointing the camera around the sky scene until you see the best color spectrum on your viewfinder or LCD, locking exposure on that point, and re-framing for your final shot. Bracketing doesn't hurt either. Lives there one amongst us who can resist taking at least 5 extra shots of a lovely sunset? I'll confess to my own weakness in that respect! :o