Best camera settings for sunsets and sunrise
Capturing a beautiful, colourful sunrise or sunset is one of the most popular landscape subjects.
The first setting you’ll need to use to retain the colours of the sky is to change the white balance to the daylight preset, rather than automatic.
Once you have set the white balance, the biggest challenge is keeping detail in both the bright sky and the dark foreground when shooting.
Because there is too much contrast for your camera to capture, you will either end up with detail in the sky and a dark foreground, or detail in the foreground and an overexposed sky.
If you choose an exposure so that the foreground is slightly dark, and shoot in raw mode, you can recover much of the shadow detail when you process the image.
The traditional approach to correcting this is to use a neutral density graduated filter. One half of an ND grad filter is dark, which you position over the sky to reduce the contrast between this and the foreground.
Another way is to take at least two shots, one with the correct exposure for the foreground and another for the sky, and combine the correctly exposed sky with the correctly exposed foreground in Photoshop CS or Elements.
You should also make sure that the shutter speed set by the camera is fast enough for you to hand hold the camera steady enough to avoid camera shake.
If the shutter speed drops below 1/30sec then you’ll need to put the camera on a tripod, or increase the ISO setting to 200 or 400.
How to set up your camera for shooting sunset or sunrise
White balance: Daylight
To retain the colours, select the Daylight or Sunny preset.
Exposure mode: Manual
Set your camera to Manual. Adjust the aperture to f/11 and the shutter speed so you just keep the highlight detail in the sky.
Shutter speed: Set according to lighting
Lens: 18 to 24mm
Focus mode: Manual
Drive mode: Single shot
PAGE 1: Best camera settings for landscapes with maximum depth of field
PAGE 2: Best camera settings for sunsets and sunrise
PAGE 3: Best camera settings for adding motion blur to your landscape photography
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