Sunset is one of the best times for taking photos. The vibrant and rich colors make sunset photography extremely enjoyable and relaxing. The strikingly golden reds and yellows bring out certain emotions and the feelings of awe and wonder.
Watching sunset also slows down time. Our sense of perception slows down when we witness something awe-inspiring in nature such as a beautiful sunset. Moments like these bring people into the present.
We should make time to see sunset more often. You know about the saying ” the best things in life are free.” Sometimes we are too busy with life and we forget about the best things – that is the beauty of nature. Sunsets every single day and it is free to watch, so we can’t complain that there is no time to see the sunset.
Sunset photography is another way to enjoy this amazingly beautiful moment. Not only you will capture this golden moment, but you will also give your health a boost by getting a dose of fresh air.
Sunset photography can be a challenge for beginners because of your shooting directly into the sun. Some tips on camera setting and composition will give you a start with some good results.
Sunset photography is actually fairly easy to plan. Basic sunset photography doesn’t require any special tools or equipment. A camera with a good lens and a tripod is basically all you need. Pick your spot and arrive early – I usually arrive an hour before the sunset. This gives me enough time to scan the area and create some points of interest.
Once I have mentally outlined my composition, I set up my camera on a tripod and wait until the sun is very close to the horizon. This is when I jump in action and take several shots. Do not shoot directly into the sun if it is above the horizon.
Use online tools to find out sunset time. I know my city pretty well so I plan my day accordingly. I live in a city close to the ocean and mountains. So there are plenty of opportunities within reach. Observe areas around your city or town while out and about. Pick a location that you think is the best.
As a beginner, try not to use a wide angle lens under 35mm. A wide angle lens will just cover more area and may fill your frame with unnecessary elements. Anything between 35mm and 100mm is a good start. This will help you to keep the emphasis on your point of interest.
The above photo is taken with the 35mm prime lens. I think it is wide enough to capture the surroundings and still maintain the sun as the focal point. If you are using a zoom lens, try with different focal lengths. Changing the focal length can have a dramatic effect on perspective. A close-up shot of the Pierre in this photo would have created an entirely different feel had I been using a zoom lens.
Color temperature is referred to as white balance. Your camera has many white balance options to choose from. Generally, auto settings work fairly well with most situations. White balance is not a big issue if you are shooting raw images. Raw image file formats can be easily adjusted in image editing programs such as Photoshop.
If your images are set to be in .jpeg format than the white balance should be set to direct sunlight. Most of the image data is permanently baked into the jpeg image file. Editing jpegs do not produce very desirable end results.
Sunset photography wouldn’t be complete without pleasing silhouettes. This effect is the result of your camera trying to expose very bright areas such as the sun. Any subject between the sun and your camera will appear dark. And our goal is to create a dark black subject. Sunset is a perfect time for creating silhouettes.
Setting your camera for good silhouettes is very important. You want your subject to be sharp with a clear outline. In order to achieve this, you need to set your aperture to around 5 or above. Setting the aperture to a higher number will produce a sharp image. You also want to avoid motion blur. So your shutter speed should be around 125.
Higher shutter speed combined with a higher aperture value will give the nice sharp look that you want. A tripod is recommended but you can probably get away without one.
One more variable for creating images that are sharp and less noisy or grainy is using the right ISO value. Lower values produce images that clear and noise free compared to images with higher ISO values. I recommend ISO setting of 100 or 200.
Sunset is a very powerful and mind stimulating time of the day – and it is free. Just watching and observing sunset has health benefits. Making it a regular ritual will keep our minds clear from the clutter. I hope this article has inspired you to see and capture the sunsets. If you would like to add to his or have any questions or comments, please leave them below.