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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    14

    Cool Shooting a sunrise

    You often only get one chance to take a spectacular sunrise. I found a great location I`m now waiting for a perfect morning.

    However, I`m not sure what settings to use. I have a Canon S1 and will probably set it to manual but unsure of the apperture, shutter speed, iso type and white level.
    Also can shooting at the sun damage a cameras ccd unit? I also have a polarizer filter, can that help?

    Any tips will be gratefully accepted!Thanx

    Tc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Paradise (aka Key West, FL)
    Posts
    139
    Imaging the sun on a CCD can, and very often will, damage it. A polarizer will not help to any significant degree. Also, looking through an optical viewfinder to frame such a shot will damage your eye!

    If you try, use the LCD display on your camera to frame the picture and try to do it when the sun is completely or mostly obscured by a cloud. The most dramatic lighting and coloring occurs when the sun is blocked like that anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,008
    Quote Originally Posted by dwig
    Imaging the sun on a CCD can, and very often will, damage it. A polarizer will not help to any significant degree. Also, looking through an optical viewfinder to frame such a shot will damage your eye!

    If you try, use the LCD display on your camera to frame the picture and try to do it when the sun is completely or mostly obscured by a cloud. The most dramatic lighting and coloring occurs when the sun is blocked like that anyway.
    A minor variance to your commentary:

    Looking directly at the sun is definately not a good idea, so I definately agree: Do use the LCD.

    But. I have shot a ton of sunrises, and sunsets, (some with full sun) with 5 different digital cameras, and have yet to damage or loose an imager. With all of the filters in front of the actual photsites I'm thinking maybe this is not a problem.

    I've not given this much research, so if there is a write-up on this somewhere maybe somone can direct us toward the information.

    Maybe I have just been lucky.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    2,635

    My experience is like George's...

    I've pointed Nikons and Panasonics into the Sun and shot photos with the Sun as a subject, or at least partially so, and have never experienced any perceptible damage.
    Let a be your umbrella!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Paradise (aka Key West, FL)
    Posts
    139
    True enough, the better cameras usually survive fine. I've done it too but I'm always careful. In a previous lifetime I frequently dealt with shutters damaged by pointing the camera to the sun. A focused image of the sun creates a tiny spot with incredable heat. You can easily burn paper (~475deg Farenheit) with such a focused spot.

    One thing to check on your camera is what type of shutter it uses. Many digital camera, generally the less expensive models, do not have a true mechanical shutter. Their CCD is exposed to the light from the lens at all times. These usually refer to their shutters as being "electronic". Others, generally the more expensive advanced models, have an actual shutter, most often one between the lens elements. With these later cameras, the CCD would be exposed to the intense images of the sun for only a very brief instant leaving little chance for heat damage.

    When I do photograph sunsets, as I happened to do tonight here in Key West at our nightly Sunset Celebration, I always do the following:
    1. Use a camera with a true mechanical shutter.
    2. Never use the optical VF
    3. Always wait until the sun is partially obscured by a cloud or signficantly dimmed by haze (you usually get the best dramatic color this way)
    ---
    dwig

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,807
    for those of you who use SLRs or DSLRs, is there anything you do in particular to avoid eye damage? I can think of:

    wear sunglasses, though it'll get in the way

    use a polarizer, though it'll probably cause flare

    frame and shoot as quickly as possible, though this might be rushing a bit

    set to a small aperture and hold down the DOF preview button, though you'll still be looking directly at the sun and other parts of the shot may be too dark too see, affecting how well you frame the shot

    is there anything else i should add to this list?

    in response to the original post, I would put the camera in aperture priority and set it to the smallest available aperture.

    i also feel that it is okay to shoot or look directly at the sun if it is very low in the horizon and is dim/orange. i mean, people look at sunsets all the time and it doesn't really hurt your eyes right?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,118
    Quote Originally Posted by ReF
    for those of you who use SLRs or DSLRs, is there anything you do in particular to avoid eye damage? I can think of:

    wear sunglasses, though it'll get in the way

    use a polarizer, though it'll probably cause flare

    frame and shoot as quickly as possible, though this might be rushing a bit

    set to a small aperture and hold down the DOF preview button, though you'll still be looking directly at the sun and other parts of the shot may be too dark too see, affecting how well you frame the shot

    is there anything else i should add to this list?

    in response to the original post, I would put the camera in aperture priority and set it to the smallest available aperture.

    i also feel that it is okay to shoot or look directly at the sun if it is very low in the horizon and is dim/orange. i mean, people look at sunsets all the time and it doesn't really hurt your eyes right?
    I have never actually shot at the sun and I have done no research on the subject, therefore I could be completely wrong in what I am about to say, but with that said...I think the problem is not the brightness of the sun. If you look at the sun with your bare eye it is bad because of the brightness, however looking through a camera lense (especially with an SLR) is just like using a magnifying glass to heat up an ant in the summer sun. The problem isn't that you are looking at the sun, the problem is that the sun is comming through your lens and concentrating on one tiny spot (there for damaging your eye and the CMOS or CCD sensor in your camera) a camera with a true mechanical shutter will open quickly (1/2000 - 1/8000) and therefore no dammage will be caused to the sensory, however I would think that wearing sunglasses or even using a polarized filter would not be enough to protect your eye from the concentrated sun rays. Just my opinion
    Ken

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Paradise (aka Key West, FL)
    Posts
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by ReF
    for those of you who use SLRs or DSLRs, is there anything you do in particular to avoid eye damage? I can think of:

    wear sunglasses, though it'll get in the way

    use a polarizer, though it'll probably cause flare

    frame and shoot as quickly as possible, though this might be rushing a bit

    set to a small aperture and hold down the DOF preview button, ...
    DO NOT wear sunglasses. Wearing them will make everything seem darker and you eye will dialate to compensate. They won't help and could make things worse.

    As far as the polarizer, it would take about 1000 times as much density to help. Polarizers are useless in this situation, they don't dim the sun significantly and have no effect on the sky brightness when facing directly toward or 180deg away from the sun. They only darken skys at near 90deg from the sun and the extra surfaces can lead to increase flare and additional internal reflections.

    Holding or locking down the DOP might help in SLR's, film or digital, with true ground glass focusing screens. Cameras that use a LCD panel don't display a damagingly bright viewing image but are continually exposing the CCD to the sun's intense rays. Shoot quickly and DO NOT use a tripod, which would keep the sun's image on the same pixel for an extended time.
    ---
    dwig

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by dwig
    DO NOT wear sunglasses. Wearing them will make everything seem darker and you eye will dialate to compensate. They won't help and could make things worse.

    As far as the polarizer, it would take about 1000 times as much density to help. Polarizers are useless in this situation, they don't dim the sun significantly and have no effect on the sky brightness when facing directly toward or 180deg away from the sun. They only darken skys at near 90deg from the sun and the extra surfaces can lead to increase flare and additional internal reflections.

    Holding or locking down the DOP might help in SLR's, film or digital, with true ground glass focusing screens. Cameras that use a LCD panel don't display a damagingly bright viewing image but are continually exposing the CCD to the sun's intense rays. Shoot quickly and DO NOT use a tripod, which would keep the sun's image on the same pixel for an extended time.

    AGREE! but some more information to add:

    When shooting the sun directly, do not use polarizer, but using ND filter (Neutral density). For this situation, using 8x or even more, will cut off 8 times or more light density, then you will never burn the CCD or get overexposure; but it is advised that do not look in the viewfinder directly. (Although it cut the light density, the UV will not be cut; UV will not burn the CCD but harmful to your eyes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    1,099
    Quote Originally Posted by Tc7
    You often only get one chance to take a spectacular sunrise. I found a great location I`m now waiting for a perfect morning.

    However, I`m not sure what settings to use. I have a Canon S1 and will probably set it to manual but unsure of the apperture, shutter speed, iso type and white level.
    Also can shooting at the sun damage a cameras ccd unit? I also have a polarizer filter, can that help?

    Any tips will be gratefully accepted!Thanx

    Tc
    Hi here's a link to an article about shooting sunrises, which I thought to be very useful. It was published in Photographic magazine in Feb 2004.

    http://www.photographic.com/phototec...s/204shooting/

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