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Thread: How to take a good sunset pic?

  1. #1

    Default How to take a good sunset pic?

    Saw a magnificent sight of clouds and sunset out of my HDB window and immediately grabbed my cam to take a few pics...

    Somehow or another, such impromptu sessions always lead to a lot of pictures taken and only a few selected... (newbies' flaw) anyway to improve so as to get 1 shot one kill, get the perfect picture with the minimum shots taken? perhaps with experience gained through critics...

    First pic taken with UWA at 11mm to capture the vast cloud formation and with sun as the light source bringing light to the sky and the HDBs at the bottom.


    1. in what area is critique to be sought?
    Exposure and Composition of such sunset scenes.

    Should the sun have overexposed highlights? e.g. in the first pics with rays coming out, but if underexposed the buildings at the bottom will be too dark and sun rays' effect will not be there.

    Should the HDBs be included in the first place?

    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
    To capture the magnificent clouds formation with the sunset as a backdrop giving the picture more colors.

    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    Sunset out of HDB window. Awed by the magnificent cloud formation and colors.

    4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture
    First picture is taken with UWA lens in order to capture the vast cloud formation. (flare at corner due to sun's rays) Sun portion has slightly overexposed highlights. Perhaps should have though of my GND filter but was too awed by the sight to think..... haiz...

    pic cropped, resized and some minor PP to enhance the colors.

    Appreciate all critics and comments in order to improve. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by knoxknocks; 26th June 2010 at 11:59 PM. Reason: 1 image per week for critique

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    Photographing fascinating clouds formation are also a delight for me. Only that I file them under " clouds ". Mainly for other usage.

    If you have take a series of bracketing exposure, you will notice that, the buildings and clouds are somewhere 2 exposure apart or maybe even 3. So, is this a right situation for that HDR approach ?

    If you shoot on tripod, after the sun had set, you could possibly continue to shoot a series of nite exposure, and then you select best from one of each and merge.

    When shooting any picture, try to ask yourself this question...How is this picture to be used ( later )? And try to answer it quick, e.g. convert to monochrome, doing cross process, an HDR attempt, photo-montage, cropping practice, exposure testing, for reference only, colour tone expression, light and shadow, low light experiment etc, etc.
    Last edited by cabbySHE; 27th June 2010 at 02:14 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    agree with cabby. hdr may work out better here.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    Timing is another issue.
    I think the best color of sunset is when the sun exactly sets at the horizon. Usually it will give bright color and change of the sky but it will last only for a minute or faster.

    So considering that, I think tanking several pictures is acceptable since you never know which moment when the color of the sun's ray shows the best in your pictures.

  5. #5
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    a few mins later and the light would have lit up the foreground if you had wanted to capture the HDB landscape

    the overblown sun is tough to handle as the dynamic range between sun and shadows are terribly wide to manage well

    you will have to choose

    just me...... i usually just meter for the brighter areas of a scene ..... and work the times just BEFORE the sun pops up or just AFTER it goes under the horizon or behind a building/hill/etc ...... the light does not just turn On or Off when the sun itself is not visible ... it continues in a gradual manner

    the mantra is ...... Metering, Metering....... and Metering



    .
    Last edited by ed9119; 27th June 2010 at 03:23 PM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  6. #6
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post
    the mantra is ...... Metering, Metering....... and Metering











    .................... and Metering..........


    .


    shall cheat a bit here.

    the mantra is... bracketing bracketing....

    meter

    and then bracket again.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomzcafe View Post
    Timing is another issue.
    I think the best color of sunset is when the sun exactly sets at the horizon. Usually it will give bright color and change of the sky but it will last only for a minute or faster.

    So considering that, I think tanking several pictures is acceptable since you never know which moment when the color of the sun's ray shows the best in your pictures.

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post
    a few mins later and the light would have lit up the foreground if you had wanted to capture the HDB landscape

    the overblown sun is tough to handle as the dynamic range between sun and shadows are terribly wide to manage well

    you will have to choose

    just me...... i usually just meter for the brighter areas of a scene ..... and work the times just BEFORE the sun pops up or just AFTER it goes under the horizon or behind a building/hill/etc ...... the light does not just turn On or Off when the sun itself is not visible ... it continues in a gradual manner

    the mantra is ...... Metering, Metering....... and Metering

    .

    In order to get nice colors, should we go for long exposure during sunset or short ones? Meter the sun and not have any overexposed highlights to capture the best colors? (Ignoring the subject of HDR, dynamic range in this case and concentrating on colors first)


    I find that if I wait till the sun sets or on the brink of setting when the sun is not too strong, the vast cloud formation, which in this case, is the subject, would be too dark to capture and would look dull if the same UWA lens is used. On the other hand, if colors of sunset were the main subject, perhaps that would be the best timing.

    I had posted in another forum seeking help on whether a GND in this case whould help.... and it seems that reverse GND, HDR, bracketing/layering and blending are the choices....

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718237

  8. #8
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take a good sunset pic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shuichi79 View Post
    In order to get nice colors, should we go for long exposure during sunset or short ones? Meter the sun and not have any overexposed highlights to capture the best colors? (Ignoring the subject of HDR, dynamic range in this case and concentrating on colors first)


    I find that if I wait till the sun sets or on the brink of setting when the sun is not too strong, the vast cloud formation, which in this case, is the subject, would be too dark to capture and would look dull if the same UWA lens is used. On the other hand, if colors of sunset were the main subject, perhaps that would be the best timing.

    I had posted in another forum seeking help on whether a GND in this case whould help.... and it seems that reverse GND, HDR, bracketing/layering and blending are the choices....

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718237
    I'm not sure how LE would work for this pic, unless you are trying to blur out the clouds into a movement... which wouldn't work that well. GND would be good, as that will allow you to darken the sky to bring out more shapes from the clouds, while allowing the HDB area to be bright enough.

    As already mentioned by ed9119, I would have stayed on another 15mins and see if the sun dropping into the horizon would have given better lighting; it's just difficult to work with this lighting. Even if you add contrast... the dynamic range is quite big for this pic, so even with GND (2 stops?) it can be difficult to get everything in.

    The other method of bracketing mentioned by allenleonhart works by isolating the dynamic range of the highs and the lows separately, then you need to figure out how to combine them (HDR or exposure blending) for your final pic.

    After all that said... I would still have stayed another 15mins and see how.

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