Getting Descent Sunset Pics w/ P&S

Discussion in 'Landscape & Cityscape' started by sami.aziz, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. sami.aziz

    sami.aziz TPF Noob!

    Sep 17, 2009
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    The city of brotherly love
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    Now that fall has come around, I frequently see amazing sunsets. There is such a broad range of reds, yellows, and oranges, that it leaves me staring for a couple minutes. But alas, the sun inevitably goes down, and I can no longer see the pretty colors. Now, I've tried a couple times to capture these sunsets with my Canon PowerShot SD870 (point and shoot), without an incredible amount of success. If I try to get all the colors of the sky, the foreground becomes washed out, and vice versa. Additionally, most of the pictures come out pretty boring, as in plain, unoriginal. So, I am asking for some advice on taking descent sunset pictures with my point and shoot, whether it's composing or avoiding the washed-out effect. Any help is appreciated, thanks for your time.

  2. ccd333

    ccd333 TPF Noob!

    Aug 15, 2004
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    Windsor, Colorado
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    sami, not sure this is the right forum section for this question. Essentially, you can get some decent sunset shots from p&s. The drawbacks of the smaller sensor in them include limited dynamic range, noise from low light, etc. (so I recommend you step up and get an entry level DSLR), but that doesn't mean you can't have some success with your Canon.

    There are several key factors:

    - Assuming your point and shoot has at least some manual control, then choosing the right combination of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed is essential. Because of the noise issues, selecting a higher ISO can lead to you may have to use a lower (wider) aperture setting to get the right results for detail. You might sacrifice some depth of field sharpness doing that, but there are always trade offs.

    - Use a tripod. This will allow much more latitude on all settings. It's almost imperative with low light conditions....even with image stabilization.

    - Use an ND grad....graduated neutral density filter. They are invaluable for lighting contrasts. Much of your wash out issues could be rectified by using one. The other option is to take two separate exposures (for sky and ground)....then blending with software. Something else to keep in mind is waiting until the sun is down a little longer. The colors are still good (if not better) and you won't have quite the same issues with lighting contrasts being so stark.

    Do some research. Experiment. You might find any of these ideas helpful. If not....DSLR, my friend.

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