Sunset – Photography Experiments

Looking for a sunset and wandered here from somewhere else? Check out all the 40 Photography Experiments.

It’s almost summer in the Northern Hemisphere and that means it’s time to tune up your sunset taking skills. For those South of the equator, you still have time to participate!

Sunset Examples

Here’s the experiment you can run:

  1. Start by scouting a great sunset location. Don’t have a great one handy? Find a good one instead. This may mean choosing a location that allows you to play with silhouettes in front of the setting sun. If you need some help finding locations, try using The Photographer’s Ephemeris to aid with elevations and shadow lengths.
  2. Next, plan out five different shots you want to take. Don’t leave it up to chance. Know where the sun is going down and plan. Some things, like cloud cover, aren’t easily planned for, but you can bank the odds in your favor by being prepared. Your list might look something like:
    1. Sun to the side of tree
    2. Disappearing behind mountains
    3. Reflected off building glass windows
    4. Sunstar high over wheat field
    5. Long human shadows on the beach
  3. Go shoot and post your results here, I’d love to see them!

Some other ideas:

  1. Straight down the street you live on
  2. From the roof looking over neighborhood
  3. Reflected in the mirror of a car
  4. From the top of a nearby hillside
  5. Viewed through the leafs or branches of a tree (think closed down aperture and sun stars here)


Important points to not forget:

  1. When you change your point of focus, you change your metering. That experiment is an important read. It’s why, when you move the camera just a little off the side of the sun, you might get a completely overexposed sun.
  2. You don’t always have to be facing the sun for great sunset photos.
  3. Bring a human along to add some excitement to the scene.
  4. Think about the mood. Then shoot that. Photography is about helping people connect with your subject by giving them something they can relate to. Calmness, serenity, being at peace…..sunsets say a lot of things. Also drama, excitement, beach party.
  5. If you need some more help, I have a post for you here.

Now, show me those cool sunset pictures!

Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure, and its companion 40 Photography Experiments, are series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey. The series are designed to unravel the mysteries of photography, helping you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.

Photo Tours

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