04 Shoot a stunning late-summer sunset
Getting exposure right can be tricky when shooting sunsets because the sky tends to be two or three stops brighter than the foreground. For example, if the meter reading for the ground is 1 sec at f/16, a three-stop difference means the sky will need a setting of 8 secs at f/16.
The best solution to this problem is to fit a graduated Neutral Density filter (ND grad) to your lens (find out what every photographer needs to know about ND Grad filters).
Graduated filters come in various strengths and are spilt so that one half is clear. This half sits over the ground area, and the filtered area at the top should be lined up with the horizon and cover the sky.
Professional landscape photographer Adam Burton used a three-stop ND grad to capture this sunset in the New Forest National Park late one summer’s day. “I selected this filter not to enhance the sky, but rather to enable the camera to capture the sky as it was,” he says. “It didn’t affect the colours, it just reduced the exposure value by three stops.”
Of course, to capture a sunset image like this you’re also going to have to be patient and wait for the perfect lighting conditions. “Although you can shoot throughout the day, the most atmospheric images are usually captured at the end of the day,” Adam advises. “Ensure you arrive on location prepared for these moments and the pictures will come to you.”
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* Pack a tripod, wide-angle lens and an ND grad filter in your kit bag.
* Keep the horizon of the scene straight and line up the transition between clear and grey so that the grey part just kisses the horizon.
* Set a narrow aperture of around f/16 and keep the ISO low at 100.
* Look for objects or landmarks that can be silhouetted against the sky. In this case, the tree draws the eye through the scene.
PAGE 1: Shoot a seasonal still life
PAGE 2: Shoot a high-key portrait
PAGE 3: Shoot a pool-side portrait
PAGE 4: Shoot a late-summer sunset
PAGE 5: Shoot birds in flight
PAGE 6: Shoot a seascape at dusk
PAGE 7: Shoot moving water
PAGE 8: Shoot at sunrise
PAGE 9: Shoot from a boat