Sunrises .. arrrrgh

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by rp1600, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    I've never before shot sunrises or sunsets and now there's some trick to balancing the the brightness of the sun, the sky and the shadows of the foreground objects.

    Any as-simple-as-it-gets advice on shooting a sunrise like this. This was early morning, around 7:20 a.m. with blue sky and perfectly round, orange sun.

    This image is straight from the camera -- Canon Dig. Reb XT, shot at f/9, 125th. I basically aimed the camera out my car window and shot it while cruising down the interstate.
     

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  2. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Above image OTE as desired.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What I usually tried when shooting a sunset (sunrise is too early for me :))...is to point the camera at a part of the sky that is near the sun but without having the sun in the viewfinder. I check the exposure settings and then recompose with the sun and use those settings. That's what I did with film anyway. Now with digital, I just try a bunch of different shots at different exposure levels and sort it out when I get home.

    disclaimer~ don't look directly at the sun, especially through a lens.
     
  4. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    this was my first attempt at shooting sunrise with digital. did it on a whim as it was a nice sunrise. and basically set it to shutter priority and rolled through the varies aperatures. I've shot them with film before with decent results but seems every digital shot today looked like the one posted.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When you shot with film, was it color negative film that you had developed at a lab?

    Most people don't know how much 'editing' is actually done by those labs when they make prints. A lab tech (or even the machine on auto) might see a shot like this and bump up the saturation and contrast. The print looks great and the customer walks away thinking they are a great photographer.

    With digital, we have to make those tweaks and adjustments.

    *edit*
    Also, I forgot to mention that digital cameras still have less exposure latitude that negative film...it's hard to capture shots with such a wide range of tones.
     
  6. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Exactly. I was disappointed that basically none of the digital shots came out as I thought they would, but then again I guess I didn't expect them to as I shot them on a whim.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How's this?
     

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  8. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    much better. thanks.
    i can't figure out how the blue sky basically disappeared in the original shot. but alas, i'm not going to dwell on it. lol
     
  9. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You overexposed it. The contrast range of the scene is too high. If you want good shadow detail without blowing the highlights out, you have to reduce the contrast of the scene.

    You can do this with a split or graduated neutral density filter. Neutral density filters reduce the intensity of light. Split ND filters are ND on top, clear on bottom. Graduated ND filters gradually move from ND to clear. You can use this to reduce the exposure on the sky by 1 or 2 stops, which allows you to record shadow detail.

    With digital, this same effect can be acomplished by taking 2 shots of the scene. You must use a tripod so they line up exactly. Calculate the exposure for the sky as Mike recommend, and expose one frame like this. Then open up 1-3 stops (using shutterspeed and not aperture). This might be worth bracketing to ensure that you get what you want. Then combine them in photoshop. One exposure on top of the other, and using a mask and the gradient tool, you can simulate the "graduated" ND effect.
     
  10. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Matt. Tri-pod wasn't an option as I was cruising at 70mph but i may have to go camp out and wait for one of these again.

    Maybe stupid question but why use shutter speed when opening up rather than aperture.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Changing the aperture will often change other things besides the exposure. Lenses perform differently at different aperture. Sharpness, distortion, etc.

    DOF probably won't be an issue with a sunrise but if there are other things in the scene...you don't want to change the DOF for combining shots.
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Whenever you shoot multiple shots, you have to maintain depth of field.
     

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