Are sunsets overrated?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by agompert, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. agompert

    agompert TPF Noob!

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    You see so many pictures of sunsets and sunrises, but what really makes them special. Like this picture I took a few days ago near Tucson. I thought it was great.

    [​IMG]

    But then when I look around, I see tons of pictures of sunsets/sunrises. What is is that makes a really good one!
     
  2. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    I don't know that I'd use the word "overrated", they are all beautiful. But It's really hard, nearly impossible, to come up with one that's original.
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What makes a really good print of a sunset or a person or a battlefield or a butterfly is impact. It's that difficult-to-define print quality that makes you stop and look at it more closely than others of the same general type.

    Impact can be broken down into components. There are several ways of going about it. I find it easiest [for me] to parse impact into subject choice, composition [includes lighting and choice of viewpoint] and technique [gear and processing].

    These three components fall nicely into the actual procedure you go through in making a print. Think of walking down the street with your camera. You see something that might make a print. That's subject choice. Next, you decide when and from what point to photograph it - composition. Finally, you make decisions which will affect the captured image. This includes gear - what camera, medium [film/digital, color/b&w], lens, etc. and processing - cropping, color balance und so weiter.

    It is extremely difficult to find a type of subject which is truly new. The photographer's normal goal is to get all three impact components right so that the print causes the viewer to pause and look at it more than he/she would with other prints of similar subjects.

    [For those of an intellectual bent, please note that the last statement takes the type of subject out of the discussion. Impact, as used here, occurs within a subject type and should not be used to differentiate between subject types.]
     
  4. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's all about emotion. If the photographer feels nothing about his/her picture, likely neither will the viewer.
     
  5. txphotog

    txphotog TPF Noob!

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    Heck no! At least not in the Texas Panhandle.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I would not say that sunsets are overrated, but that there are some pretty poor ones out there. Many are flat with a black horizon, nothing in the foreground and sometimes minmal visual interest in the sky.

    Landscape shooters realize that you need to create a feeling of depth in a scene and that most often means a foreground, middleground, and background,...even in a sunset. The sky cannot be the only interesting element in the photo.

    This may mean great timing by shooting when there is just sufficient ambient light to give some detail to the foreground and middleground. It may mean using a graduated neutral density filter or a high powered 9 volt camplight to artificially light the foreground. Location is important too. Find water, a dock, deck chair, bridge, etc. or some interesting vertical that would fit naturally into the foreground or middleground. Colour and clouds in the sky are necessary for that feeling of depth as well.

    So, to put it another way, the sunsets where there has been a considerable effort to planning, composing and timing are the ones that are the most visually effective. The others end up just flat and visually boring.

    skieur
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Some great elements in that first sunset, Jason. Too bad that the tree and windmill overlap visually. I would have tried for another camera angle,...if possible.

    skieur
     
  8. Canosonic

    Canosonic TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't say that sunsets are overrated. But KIDS and PETS are! Which I find real stupid. Kids (especially toddlers) never get a score lower than 5/10.
    Though it's still better when you shoot a scene in "the golden hours" then at 12 o'clock.
    It's a plus, not a handicap.
    On the other hand....an average 6-7/18-19 shot is better then an average landscape at 12.
    I don't know.
     
  9. joemc

    joemc TPF Noob!

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    ND filters and a touch of HDR can help too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009
  10. mtfd635

    mtfd635 TPF Noob!

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    I agree with all the above! But must add so called 'HDR' pics to overrated category, y'know - the sci fi look stuff.
    Sunsets are natural events that exhibit a depth of colors n beauty from most vantage points, they evoke a calming and soothing mood whether serene or dramatic...
    A lighthouse is basically boring without a sunset, same with trees and most silhouettes
    Sunsets get more 'oooh's' n 'ahhhh's' than any other pics I take
     

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