Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunrise Serenade

Sunrises and sunsets make wonderful photographic subjects. The mix of warm and cool tones, and the drama of the light can make our hearts skip a beat.

Here are some tips to make your shots better:

1. Always arrive at least one hour before official sunset or sunrise time. That will give you time to set up and find a good vantage point.

2. Start with a wide angle lens, but be prepared to also shoot with a telephoto zoom. That will provide some variety, and allow you to zoom into smaller areas that might have great clouds or interesting colors.

3. Start with an ISO of either 200 or 400.  Higher than that will introduce noise, especially visible in smooth areas of sky and darker areas.

4. Use an aperture of at least f/8 or smaller. The smaller the aperture (the higher the number) the better you will be able to retain good detail and sharpness throughout the image.

5. A slow shutter speed is OK if necessary. If it is a calm day, there will be very little movement of the clouds. If it is windy, some cloud motion could prove interesting.

6. Some of the best shots are when the sun is below the horizon. The colors will be more subtle and you will not have the super bright sun overpowering your image.

7. It is also good to shoot when the sun just peaks above the horizon, as in today's image. That helps to retain some color in the sun itself, and minimizes the chances of having an uncontrollably bright  white circle of light.

8. For sunrise, shoot a lot before the sun breaks the horizon. For sunset, don't leave once the sun dips down below the horizon. Continue for at least 20 minutes afterwards, slowing your shutter speed as necessary. You will be amazed at the colors and subtlety that your camera will capture.

Shutter Speed 1/250 sec.  Aperture f/10.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set at 17mm.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere."  --John Muir   

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