photographing sunsets

GlobetrotterGlobetrotter Posts: 5Member
edited March 2014 in D90/D7x00
Hi all I was looking at a photograph of a beautiful sunset and was wondering how to capture those lovely colours . I use a Nikon d90 with a Tokina 12-24mm lens. Would I use the landscape setting or the vivid setting please could someone advise me kind regards Arthur Hughes

Comments

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Landscape and vivid refer to picture controls. Personally if I were not going to shoot raw (where those settings don't matter) I would use vivid for a sunset. I would also use manual and manually bracket the heck out of it, meaning I would run the gamut of shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/2000, and dial the aperture from f/4 to f/8 at each speed. Sunsets are tricky, unpredictable, and change rapidly. One you find pleasing exposure values, then take about 100 more shots. I'm sure others will chime in, but that's how I do it.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    To think that there's a single sunset technique is to think that each sunset is the same. Each one is unique requiring different tools to get it right. I tend to shoot in aperture priority and adjust the shutter speed in 1/3 increments both up and down. Sometimes I bracket and combine the shots using HDR software. Sometimes I use a graduated neutral density filter. It really depends on what's happening right then and what effect you're going for. And as Ironheart says, the character of a sunset often changes while the sun is setting, so a technique that is working at one moment may not work five minutes later. It's best to have some outline of a plan ("if the sky does 'x' then I'll do 'y') going in. Shoot RAW, and edit as needed.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,203Member
    I use Aperture priority mode and ASA 100 or 200 or 400. I bracket extensively in 1/3 increments both up and down. You never know what exposure is going to be best so bracket down to 1.5 under and at least 1 over exposure.

    I have also had luck with a graduated neutral density filter but sometimes don't have time to get it out. The window for peak color is so narrow, you need to shoot lots of pictures.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2014
    I shoot and would recommend shooting RAW; then play to your hearts content in
    post, with something like Lightroom, when you get home
    Use ISO 200 for maximum dynamic range
    If you use a tripod and bracket, you can play with layers in CS5 or similar
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    I use the bracketing functionality of the D800 to its fullest. Sunsets in my opinion are especially good for HDR photography, but it really depends. If it is the deep red/orange colors, then longer shutter time is sometimes very nice, but it is all about artistic opinion.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    For sunset, I have found the best way of addressing the light is to use a graduated neutral density filter. Under expose by two stops. To smooth out the water, slow down the shutter speed. A tripod is very useful is such a setting. Shoot using a wide angle lens, ISO no more than 400 @ f/16 or more. Should you decide on using an ND filter, 3-4 stop should be good enough. For composition do not put the sun in the center of the frame. -

    See more at: http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/2390/variable-nd-filters-disappointment-how-can-they-even-sell-them/p2#sthash.6jPEKTum.dpuf
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    I had a D90 for several years and it took lots of great sunsets. My technique is about deciding exactly which colour you want to reproduce accurately in nature's ever changing palette. I suggest spot metering the exact area where you want to reproduce the colour, hold that exposure and then recompose and shoot. If the exposure is not perfect, it often is, simply use the compensation dial until it is perfect. For me, the biggest issue in great sunsets is composition. Try to include some attractive foreground if possible for contrast and balance and pay attention to the basic rules of composition. Move around a bit to get the best "angle".

    A deliberately under exposed flash (always expose for the colour / light you want) will help soften any reachable darker shadows without making it too obvious. The width of your lens may be an issue unless you are blessed with regular "whole of sky" sunsets/sunrises. As these are rare in my part of the world, I prefer the range between 35mm-100 mm on FX depending on the location and conditions. Good luck with shooting nature at its best!
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Here is one taken with a red IR filter which blocks Visible Light Up To 650nm, Passes 90% of Radiation From 730-2000nm
    South Dakota Sunset 1.0-2

    Exposure….I will use matrix, and view the histogram. Then bracket some test exposures and finally as the sun gets into position…and it moves very quickly with long lenses….grab the exposures. 1/640 sec, f/13, ISO 640. The filter is a B & W 092 with a filter factor of 3X as I remember. The entire procedure is one of trial and error and lots of attention as to what is going on.

    Nikon D90….
    El Moro Sunrise 2010

    12-24mm f/4 Nikkor on D90 1/250 sec f/8, ISO 200 at 13mm… oh, sunset, sunrise…about the same issues IMO
    Msmoto, mod
  • wmscyclonewmscyclone Posts: 56Member
    I'll also suggest shooting in RAW and bracketing. Some people say to meter off of the sky near the sunset but making sure the sun isn't in the frame, that way the sun will get blown out but the rest of the sky will look good. A take lots of photos since you can delete 90% in post because if you miss it when shooting you'll be much sadder. And start with a Sunny White Balance (adjust as necessary in post). Use base ISO.

    Here's a sunrise over Porpoise Bay, New Zealand. I took about 100 photos bracketing by -1 ev, 0 ev, and +1 ev. Some of the pictures were of the pink clouds before sunrise, so about 50 w/ sun, 50 w/o. Probably about 5-8 keepers once I looked at them on a bigger monitor.

    D600, 24-120 f/4 @ 120mm, f/8, ISO 100, Aperture priority, -1ev, 1/2000 sec.

    Sunrise on Porpoise Bay
    D600, Nikkor Lenses: 24-120 f/4G, 70-300 f/3.5-5.6G, 50 f/1.8G, 300 f/4E, TC-14E III
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2014
    . Try to include some attractive foreground if possible for contrast and balance and pay attention to the basic rules of composition.
    +1

    “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

    Ansel Adams 1902 – 1984

    however

    “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.” :)

    Edward Weston 1886 – 1958


    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • GlobetrotterGlobetrotter Posts: 5Member
    A big thank you to all who have taken the time to send me the information regarding ( how to photograph sunsets ) I have enough information to keep me going and maybe one day I will be able to look at my L C D screen and see a shot that resembles one of the photographs sent here. Thank you so much Arthur Hughes
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,409Moderator
    edited March 2014
    To be honest I can't see the problem. Click, chimp histogram, click, chimp histogram. I have never taken more than 20 shots of any sunset and they always are at their best for a short moment before they drop off which you know when you see it. I always ETTR and darken in post to manage noise levels.

    I don't mean to sound smug, I just don't have a problem. All but 'the' shot at the sunset's peak get deleted. I have never, ever felt the need to shoot 100 shots of any scene and never bracket to the extent above. You tend to know whether you are shooting a silhouette shot or a bracket set for an HDR before you get to the best shot time.

    Sheppey Sunrise
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Here's one more thing. Most times you'll be shooting a sunset surrounded by lots of other people shooting the same thing. When the sun disappears, you'll hear a lot of "oohs" and "aahs," and then everyone will pack up their gear and walk away, thinking that the show is over. I always find that if you have the patience to wait 10 more minutes you'll always capture something unexpected.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,409Moderator
    That is great advice. Especially true for those sunsets where the sun looks like it is masked by cloud on the horizon. The sun can actually reflect off the underside of that cloud later and give the best colours.
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Here's one more thing. Most times you'll be shooting a sunset surrounded by lots of other people shooting the same thing. When the sun disappears, you'll hear a lot of "oohs" and "aahs," and then everyone will pack up their gear and walk away, thinking that the show is over. I always find that if you have the patience to wait 10 more minutes you'll always capture something unexpected.
    In addition, turn around and look behind you. There is still the opportunity to capture great shots there as well.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,409Moderator
    edited March 2014
    A
    Here's one more thing. Most times you'll be shooting a sunset surrounded by lots of other people shooting the same thing. When the sun disappears, you'll hear a lot of "oohs" and "aahs," and then everyone will pack up their gear and walk away, thinking that the show is over. I always find that if you have the patience to wait 10 more minutes you'll always capture something unexpected.
    In addition, turn around and look behind you. There is still the opportunity to capture great shots there as well.
    Agreed. Behind this:

    A life spent on the river

    Was this:

    Hoo sunset
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member

    In addition, turn around and look behind you. There is still the opportunity to capture great shots there as well.
    +1

  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    edited March 2014
    Here's one more thing. Most times you'll be shooting a sunset surrounded by lots of other people shooting the same thing. When the sun disappears, you'll hear a lot of "oohs" and "aahs," and then everyone will pack up their gear and walk away, thinking that the show is over. I always find that if you have the patience to wait 10 more minutes you'll always capture something unexpected.
    This is so very true! Sometimes the best light occurs after the sun goes down.
    I shoot a fair amount of sunsets and everybody has their own style and technique. I suggest you experiment beginning with a the lowest ISO you can get away with to control noise, a small aperture (f/14 and above), and a shutter speed appropriate for the aperture and ISO. The light will change constantly. I typically shoot quite a few frames because the light is always changing and there will be a limited period of time when it is at its best. As others have stated, you can always delete the extras. It never hurts to use a tripod; particularly if you are going to hang around for the after sundown shots where workable shutter speeds are quite slow. Most likely there will be extreme contrast if the sun is in the frame. Be careful about blowing out the highlights to the point where they cannot be recovered in post.

    Here are three shots taken over a span of 46 minutes. The last was a few miles distant. I thought I had seen the best light of the day at the sunset. I was wrong. The best light was 45 minutes later as I was driving up the coast. I immediately did a U-turn and shot the third image out the car window prior to parking. More sunsets sprinkled throughout my Flickr site.

    Sunset on the Oregon Coast near Alsea Bay

    Sunset on the Oregon Coast near Alsea Bay

    After Sundown on the Oregon Coast

    Good luck!
    Post edited by Beso on
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    Sevencrossing sagely quoted the immortal Edward Weston 1886 – 1958;

    “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”

    Perhaps this quote may be out of context. I do a lot of "street" shooting, straight from the hip. The camera never comes up to my eyes. Frankly, I am more concerned about getting something into the frame and in focus than about perfect composition. Is this the type of photography the venerable Edward Weston was referring to?

    I suggest that for very many, the effects of gravity and our responses are natural and instinctive. Equally the rules of composition to many people are as instinctive as swimming is for the first time. For some, neither are ever mastered and for others, never attempted. Rarely is understanding good composition an instinct. Of course, one need never follow the rules... but knowing them and their consequences before breaking them is often advisable.





  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    Many thanks to proudgeek for helping me get a photo up in the General Discussion / Picture A Day area... I"m still on the bottom rung of a l-o-n-g ladder because I meant to put it into this forum 8-|

    Thank you to Sevencrossing for motivating me to revisit Edward Weston, a co-founder of the Group f/64 club. Here is an interesting quote from the man billed as one of America's most innovative and influential photographers; “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.”
  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 521Member
    Sunsets become more interesting if you have a foreground subject as well. Expose for the light in the sunset and use a flash for the subject in the foreground. That's Joe McNally approach to beach shots. Striking results.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Sunsets become more interesting if you have a foreground subject as well. Expose for the light in the sunset and use a flash for the subject in the foreground. That's Joe McNally approach to beach shots. Striking results.
    Agree. Moreover, I would recommend taking the flash off camera and use it in that manner.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
Sign In or Register to comment.