Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips for Beginners

Learn How To Shoot The Best Sunrise and Sunset Photography

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Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips – HDR Photography Tips

Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips – In this section of Nature Photography Tips, Meta Explains Her Best Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips For Beginners.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography – Shooting Sunrises and Sunsets is very difficult, because you have a very bright sky and a very dark foreground. Natural Looking HDR Photography is ideal for High Contrast Photos, such as Sunrise Photography and Sunset Photography. When shooting directly into the sun, always use a Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL). You can also use a Variable ND Filter to cut down on the Exposure.

Exposure Bracketing Tips – Shooting HDR Photography using Exposure Bracketing requires shooting 3 or 5 Bracketed Images, at different EV Levels, using a Constant Aperture but Different Shutter Speeds, then combining them using Aurora HDR Post Production Software into one final HDR Image.

Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersAd • HOYA CPL Filters – Shooting Directly into the Sun for Sunrise Photography and Sunset Photography requires the use of a Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL). CPL Filters dramatically deepen blue skies, reduce unwanted reflections on nonmetallic surfaces and saturate colors, especially when used outdoors. 5 Star Rated!

Meta’s Best Sunrise and Sunset Photography Tips

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Meta’s HDR Photography Setup

Learn How To Shoot HDR Photography – The Standard Sunset Photo (Photo: Left – Left Side) is underexposed on the bottom, but the Bracketed HDR Photograph on the Nature Looking Right Side is the result of combining 5 bracketed images, shot at 1.0EV apart in Aperture Mode at ISO 100, starting at around f/8 at 5 Different Shutter Speeds, at ISO 100.

The HDR Post Production Software used is Aurora HDR, which combines the 5 Bracketed Shots into one Natural HDR Image

A Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL) is required to prevent any over exposure shooting directly into the sunrise or sunset! Post Processing of the 5 Bracketed shots was done using Aurora HDR.

Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersAd • Aurora HDR – Shooting HDR Photography is something you should be always thinking about. Even if you are not shooting HDR, consider shooting 5 bracketed shots all the time, even if you are shooting Hand Held. This way, if you want to process in HDR later, you will have the 5 bracketed shots to process in Aurora HDR.

Meta’s HDR Photography Tips

Shoot HDR Bracketing – Shooting Sunrise and Sunset HDR Photography using Bracketing requires absolutely no movement of the Camera between multiple shots! Meta shoots in RAW HDR Bracketing on a Sturdy Tripod using a Wireless Remote Control. In Bracket Mode, you’ll notice 5 EV arrows in the viewfinder, instead of the usual 1 EV arrow. Expose on the foreground, not the sky, then line up the center EV arrow at 0.

Golden Hour For Sunsets – Shoot Sunsets at the Golden Hour, the 1/2 Hour Period Before Sunset and After Sunset. This is the time to shoot Sunset Photography, when the sunlight is redder, softer, and parallel to the horizon. Meta wears her Red LED Head Lamp for hands free Night Photography setup. Always use a Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL).

Blue Hour For Sunrises – Shoot Sunrises at the Blue Hour, the 1/2 Hour Period Before Sunrise and After Sunrise. This is the time to shoot Sunrise Photography, when the sunlight is blueish, evenly diffused, and parallel to the horizon. Meta wears her Red LED Head Lamp for hands free Night Photography setup. Always use a Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL).

Days to Shoot HDR Sunset Photography – The Best HDR Sunset Photography usually involves low lying clouds. Clouds refract the light and produce interesting contrast and colors. Days following a heavy rain are much cleaner and provide long range views.

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Aurora HDR – All HDR Photography requires some Special HDR Post Production Software, such as Aurora HDR, to combine the 5 Bracketed RAW Images in your computer. Meta uses Aurora HDR for her RAW HDR Post Processing. Meta shoots in Manual Mode in RAW using 5 Continuous Bracketed shots, 1.0EV apart (-2.0, -1.0, 0, +1.0, +2.0).

Did She Fire 5 Shots or Only 3 – Some say there’s no advantage to shooting 5 Bracketed Shots over 3 Shots, which takes longer and uses up more SD Card Space. Meta ran some HDR Bracketing tests using Aurora HDR on the same 5 RAW Bracketed Shots at 1EV apart at different shutter speeds (Manual Mode at ISO 100).

5 or 3 Shot Conclusion – Zooming in to 600% to see the pixels, the HDR Image from 1 Standard Single Shot was noisy. The HDR Image from the middle 3 Bracketed Shots had some noise, but the HDR Image from 5 Bracketed Shots was clean. This is why Meta often shoots 5 RAW Bracketed Shots instead of 3 Shots.

Meta’s Sony Digital Camera Setup For HDR Photography

Bracket Order – You can change the Bracket Order on your Sony Digital Camera to “Darkest, Standard, Lightest”. This makes it much easier to find the set of 3 or 5 Bracketed images on the SD Card. Always use a Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL). Meta uses these Sony Camera Settings for her HDR Photography:
Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - > 0 > + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest).
Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW
Camera 2 –> Drive Mode –> Continuous Bracketing 1.0EV 5 Images
Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Wide
Camera 5 –> Metering Mode –> Multi
Camera 5 –> ISO –> 100

Meta’s Recommended Sunrise and Sunset Photography Camera Settings

Camera: Sony a77 II Digital Camera
Lenses: Minolta AF 20mm f/2.8 or Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
Tripod: Slik Pro 700DX Tripod with a Sony Wireless Remote Control
Camera Mode: Manual Mode (Takes 5 Shots at varying Shutter Speeds)
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/8 to f/16
Focus: Manual Focus to Infinity
Image Stabilization – Turn Off when on a Slik Pro 700DX Tripod
Filter: Variable ND Filter or 2 Stop Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL)
Drive Mode: Continuous Bracket: 1.0EV 5 Images for HDR Post Production

Shooting HDR Sunrises: Increase the Aperture from f/8 to f/16 as the sun rises and it gets brighter. Setup 1/2 hour before sunrise.
Shooting HDR Sunsets: Decrease the Aperture from f/8 to f/4 as the sun sets and it gets darker. Setup 1/2 hour before sunset.

Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersAd • Find The Longest Lasting Batteries – For North Carolina Nature Photography, Meta uses Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries which have a 20 year shelf life and can operate from -40°F to 140°F°. Energizer Lithium Batteries are Specially Designed for High Drain Photography Devices like Camera Flashes and LED Flashlights. 5 Star Rated!

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Nature Photography Tips For Beginners
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