Sunrise and sunset photography is traditionally a favourite among landscape photographers – beginners and pros alike. The colour of the sunset sky and the visually rewarding nature of long exposure results in some truly stunning images. I run a half day “Hobart & Surrounds” photographic workshop here in Hobart which finishes with a sunset shoot on the eastern shore. During the workshop we spend a couple of hours in the later afternoon in the foothills of Mt Wellington shooting waterfalls, before moving to the sunset shoot with plenty of time to discuss settings and work on composition while it is still bright.
These two shots (above and below) give an idea of how things look “behind the scenes” when shooting a sunset. As you can see, in “real life” – above, the sky is far brighter than the foreground, an aspect of sunrise and sunset photography that cannot be ignored. The trouble with this situation is simple – if you expose for a bright sky then your dark foreground will be monstrously underexposed, and if you expose for the dark foreground then the sky will be irreparably burnt out.
Sunset photography courses Tasmaia: Tips & Accessories
The best way around this is neutral density filters, in particular “graduated” neutral density filters. These filters allow you to darken the top half of the scene without affecting the bottom half thereby reducing the contrast of the two halves of the image. ND grad filters also result in a longer exposure than without which also results in nice creative effects of smooth water.
The second shot, also from Ralphs Bay was taken using a B+W 10 stop Neutral Density filter. I shot this well after the sun had disappeared and the contrast was naturally reduced. In this case, deep in twilight the exposure time required was 10 minutes! (ISO 100, f14).
Photography tours, workshops and tuition
For more sunrise and sunset photography tips please consider joining me on one of my Tasmanian photography tours and workshops. All of my overnight workshops include a sunset and a sunrise shoot; and my “Hobart & Surrounds” photography workshop is a half day workshop in Hobart based on a sunset shoot.