Sunset Settings

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Aytand, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Aytand

    Aytand TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone - I'm wondering if I could get some help with camera settings while shooting sunsets - I have a Cannon Rebel SLR that I've been playing with at the beach. Here is a sample of the pictures I'm getting:

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    The issue I am having is that when shooting directly at the sun I am getting a lot of glare - or rays shooting from the sun. When I used to take pictures of a similar scene with my crappy Casio 3mp exslim I would get a picture that had the sun as a ball but without the rays.

    What settings do I need to adjust to get that effect without the rays?

    Thanks,

    Aytan
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Personally, I like the rays...but to each their own.

    There are a few factors that are in work here. Part of it is the design of the lens. Some lenses will give you lens flare when something like the sun is in the frame. Another factor is the exposure of the shot. The more overexposed the sun is...the more it will loose it's round shape. So you could further underexpose the shot until the sun is more of a round shape. Of course, that will probably mean that everything else in the shot will be dark.

    Another factor is the position of the sun and the atmospheric conditions. If the sun is high in the sky...good luck, it will be way too bright. As you know, it's best when the sun is near the horizon and the light has to pass through much more atmosphere. If the light is passing though a lot of stuff in the air (pollution for example)...it will further reduce it's brightness...allowing you to capture it as a ball.

    Getting the exposure value (aperture and shutter speed settings) for a setting sun can be difficult. I usually like to point the camera at an area of the sky close to but without the sun...hold down the shutter button halfway (to lock the exposure)...then recompose and shoot. This may or may not work...and you may want to have a different exposure. You can use your EC (exposure compensation) and set it to a negative value. Or you can put the camera in Manual mode and try different settings. For something like this...it's best to bracket your shots (try several different exposure settings).
     
  3. Felix 222

    Felix 222 TPF Noob!

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    yup^


    you can also take multiple exposures to achieve a well lighted photo where nothing is too dark nor bright. match them up on a program like PS
     
  4. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    It could just be a factor of the geometry and/or coatings on your lens system.

    Technical background:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_flare

    I don't know how to control it while shooting directly into the setting sun, other than using another lens? I haven't had too much trouble with lens flare with my Nikon with a 18-135 lens...see my web page for some "direct into the sun" examples.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I forgot to mention that it's dangerous for your eyes to look directly at the sun...especially with a lens. So be cautious.
     
  6. Aytand

    Aytand TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses - I actually was thinking that a new lens might be the best way around this - can anyone suggest what I should be looking for?
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I honestly don't know if a different lens will be any better or worse. Different lenses have different flare characteristics and I don't think that any of them are designed to shoot directly at the sun. Just try different settings on the lens you have, before getting a new one.

    I do know that the design of the lens will affect how the flare looks. For example, the number of aperture blades will affect the number of rays coming from the sun ball.
     
  8. Aytand

    Aytand TPF Noob!

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    Your website photos are much closer to what I used to see with my old camera - the sun as more of a ball than a ball with rays - what lens should I be looking at? I am completely stupid when it comes to lenses.

    Thanks,

    Aytan
     
  9. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    Aytand, I'm not exactly sure which characteristics make a good "sinrise/sunset" lens...sunsets are in some ways extreme conditions...extremes in dynamic range, and extremes in direct sunlight hitting and bouncing off various lens elements.


    I did a quick google search on "minimize lens flare" and "sunset", and came up with several hits. From this web site:

    http://www.cameraontheroad.com/?p=508

    "Of course, if the sun itself is included in your photograph, it's impossible to keep the sun from striking the lens. In this case, your lens must be top quality to minimize lens flare. Lenses with better quality coatings and fewer elements perform better when aimed at the sun."

    I don't know if this helps...I may have just gotten lucky with my lens choice.
     

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