How to photograph sunrises and sunsets
Have you ever wondered how to photograph a sunrise or sunset? Or, have you ever wondered when is the best time or what are the best weather conditions for capturing color in the sky? Well, that is what we are going to discuss in this article.
Sunrise: Since the sun rises in the east, think about the best westerly location to set up in. This could be the west side of a lake, mountain vista, meadow or at the beach. Remember, the sun rises at different spots depending on the season. Plan on arriving 1 hour prior to sunrise, which will give you plenty of time to locate the ideal spot and watch the colors change during the twilight hours just prior to sunrise. Depending on the light, most of your images will be long exposures of 1 second or longer, so set up your camera on a tripod and take a series of photos as the colors change in the sky. I would recommend setting your digital camera on Aperture Mode, if you want control over the aperture, or Program Mode, which will allow the camera to choose both the aperture and shutter speed. Personally I would choose Aperture Mode and let the camera choose the shutter speed. A great accessory to have is a variable neutral density filter, which will allow you to extend the exposure and create great shots of lake or beach water. Some digital cameras also have a Scene Mode for Dusk/Dawn or Sunset, which you might want to experiment with. The best time to get color in the sky is when the cloud cover is somewhere between 30%-70%, so monitor the weather for cloudy or partly conditions. You may also want to check out the website: www.sunsetwx.com, which will show you both sunset and sunrise conditions.
Sunset: Similar to my comments about sunrises, you will need to plan on being on the easterly side of a lake, meadow, mountain range etc. I would plan on arriving 30 minutes prior to sunset and plan on a series of photos even after sunset, when the sky becomes more saturated in color. Again, you should monitor the weather and look for cloudy or partly cloudy conditions, or use the website: www.sunsetwx.com. Some of the most dramatic sunsets occur right after a thunderstorm, so keep this in mind and plan accordingly.
Ron Bowman, NH Landscape Photographer