Sunset photograph problem - second try


TPF Noob!
Apr 6, 2009
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Now that 2 helpful folks have shown me how to paste a photograph on this form (many thanks!), let me try my question again.

I live on the Central Coast of California where, one day last fall, we had a spectacular fire engine red sunset. For the life of me, I couldn't capture the scene. Here's the image I got:


Despite several atempts at adjusting the exposure, I always got the same unsuccessful result. In program mode I can bracket the exposure and a histogram shows up, but I'm not sure what to do with it or if that is even the right way to approach this problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

My camera is a Lumix DMC-FZ7 which I bought because I am a very casual photographer. I wanted a fairly easy to use digital camera and liked the 12X zoom feature which I have used for nature shots such as this red shouldered hawk sitting on a branch about 75 feet from my deck.


It also takes pretty good landscape pictures such as this


The problem with the sunset picture appears to be the photoghrapher...
Well, I will tell you that from my experience, shooting the sun right on like that will often times wreak havoc with the light meter. The best sunset photos I usually see are when the sun is either half way down or creeping out from behind the clouds. My personal experience, if the sun is out, like in your photo, I won't even bother shooting, or I will try to work up a clever way to use silhouettes. Also, take into account that you are not using a DSLR which has an advanced metering system. I'm not taking anything away from Panasonic, they make great cameras and I have used them, my point was that they are more limiting than a DSLR, especially with light metering. It also looks like it may have been hazy or foggy that day, once again, something that could have affected the light meter. The exposure itself is pretty accurate given that the land and waves look good, so it isn't all bad, the camera did what it was supposed to do, its just that the light of the sun is so bright, that its difficult to capture the bright sun and sky, with the darker land. A neutral density filter would help with this, but I'm not sure that one is made for that camera. I know that the inside of the lense housing is threaded so you can screw on attachments, I'm just not sure that they make a Neutral density filter that will fit it. Anyway, for the next time, I would try shading the brightness of the sun with maybe a palm tree or something. That can make a huge difference and then wait for the sun to set further to let the light levels balance out. Good luck and keep posting with results...

Oh yeah, and one last thing, Your horizon is crooked. This is something that can be fixed in photoshop, but its always easier to bear this in mind before shooting the photo, and save yourself the trouble. :)
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seems like the white balance was off. i had the same camera for my first camera and with proper white balance, i was able to capture sunsets like this:


good luck =)

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