A&P Tips on taking pics of a sunrise (newbie question)

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Emfuser, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Emfuser

    Emfuser Nuclear Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'm going to be in VA Beach next week and I want to get a pic of the sunrise while I'm on the beach. Getting up early won't be a problem since I'm used to it.

    I have a Canon A60 to work with and I could use every bit of information I can get to do this right.
     
  2. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Simple. Take your exposure reading with the sun just out of the frame. Lock in your settings. Then frame your shot and start shooting. Shoot several shots opening your aperture at 1/2 f/stop increments from your base setting and several shots with it closed at 1/2 stop increments.

    When framing your shot, try to have something of interest in the foreground. It could be a sand castle, or the arch of a beach gazebo framing the sun. Even birds flying by will give your shot more interest.

    One of the prettiest shots I ever took at the beach was just after sunrise on a foggy morning. I was on a pier with some fishermen. The pier dissapeared into the fog, while the sun was a bright disk. I added a coral filter to add some color to the grey fog and ended up with a great scene.

    Cheers
    Jim
     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    I've been asked to explain further about my previous post.

    Your camera has a built in metering system that will tell you (or it) what settings (f/stop and shutter speed) you need in order to take a properly exposed photo. This system works by "seeing" what you have framed in the shot and averaging the exposure values. However, like all automated systems, it is designed to work under average conditions.

    When shooting the sun at sunrise or sunset, the sun is still an extremely bright object. If you were to frame your shot with the sun in the viewfinder and take an exposure reading your camera would "see" the bright sun and tell you that you need to stop down (use a smaller f/stop. For example: f/22 as opposed to f/8) Using this setting will result in a grossely underexposed (not enought light hitting the film) photo. By framing your shot so that the sun is just out of the frame you're taking an exposure reading of the sky next to the sun. This is the exposure value that you want. Then when you frame your shot with the sun in the frame you can shoot a photo that will be properly exposed. The sun will still be overexposed, as it should be, but the rest of the sky, including the reds, oranges and blues of sunrise or sunset will be properly exposed.

    To be on the safe side you should "bracket" your exposures, i.e. shoot a photo that is one f/stop open from your base setting and one photo that is one f/stop closed from your base. For example. Assuming that your base exposure, the exposure that your camera tells you is correct, is f/11 @1/125 sec. You would shoot a shot at that setting. Then you would shoot one at f/8 @1/125 sec. (one stop open) and one at f/16 @1/125 sec. (one stop closed) from your base setting.

    Remember that you can also use your shutter speed to bracket your exposures. Going from 1/125 of a second to 1/60 of a second has the same effect as opening your aperture one stop. Conversly, going from 1/125 of a second to 1/250 of a second will decrease your exposure value the same as if your had closed the aperture one f/stop.

    Professional photographers often shoot at 1/2 stop increments and will, at times, bracket nearly a whole roll of film if the lighting is especially tricky.

    One of the first rules of photography I ever learned is that film is cheap. Don't be afraid to shoot a lot of it. Even Professionals can make an error in determining proper exposure. You never know when you'll have that once in a lifetime shot and you don't want to ruin it by shooting one shot at the wrong exposure.

    cheers
    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2003

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