Sunrise, sunset and Getting the Shot

Joe Farace Photography

Joe Farace PhotographyGuest post by Joe Farace

Nothing says sunset like a photograph of the sun setting slowing in the West, and this image of the beach at Acapulco benefited from using the Leica D-Lux’s Sunset scene mode. The camera automatically determined exposure was 1/500 sec at f/4 and ISO 80.

Sunsets and sunrises are notoriously difficult to shoot because you have lots of dark areas and a brilliant light source within the frame. One of the easiest (maybe the easiest) ways of handling this kind of tricky shot is by using your camera’s Sunset Scene Mode if it has one. Using this mode sets up the camera to deal with these unique circumstances and produces the beautiful color that you actually see but can be difficult to capture in a photograph.

If your camera doesn’t have a Sunset mode you can always use the time-honored custom of bracketing. Pianists practice their scales; photographers need to practice exposure. Sometime the best solution is to shoot a series of exposures of your subject varying exposures from what would normally be considered underexposure to overexposure. Some cameras even offer an automatic bracket option. Consult your camera manual for details on how the automatic bracketing feature works on you specific camera.

Tip: Depending on how large this example photo looks on your screen, you may be able to see the ant-like people (as silhouettes) walking on the beach, but it’s always a good idea to have some foreground interest in sunset scenes such as this one.

Visit Joe Farace at his blog “Saving the World, One Pixel at a Time” (


What Moves You?

The question of what moves us as photographers is one that everyone eventually questions at some point.  Whether this comes early in your pursuit or later…at some point everyone considers where their real passion for a particular artistic genre exists.  Whether that art form is painting, sculpting, musical, or photographic in nature, the question is one that will always persist.  I’ve asked this question before in an essay simply titled “Why?”, and there have looked to answer the question from an esoteric perspective.  (Feel free to read the essay yourself from the PDF article here.)

However, today it’s more of a motivational question.  What motivates you to shoot – and what are your real reasons for pursuing any of the arts?  For my own photography, the roots lie in scuba diving.  You see about 20 years ago, I became a Certified PADI diver.  I took to it quite easily, and ever since have been enthralled with scuba diving.  So much so that I considered taking the advanced certifications, which required two specializations.  One was a no-brainer, the other was underwater navigation!  You can imagine what the no-brainer was…

Having seen so many wonderful scenes from artists, showing stunning beaches, the underwater marine life, from sharks to whales, dolphins and fish all along coral reefs, the world of scuba diving and beaches have always drawn me.  Part and parcel with that passion has also been one for sunsets and sunrises.  And since we can all appreciate a sunrise or sunset scene from the beaches of the world, I’m sharing today some of my own personal favorites.  Yes, these are retouched to a degree, but I’ve tried to stay true to the scene as I remember it.

While some day I eventually hope I am able to afford the housings to go back underwater with all this gear I’ve accumulated, but for the time being, I’ll have to survive with these above-water scenes.  Enjoy, and if you’ve got your own favorites, feel free to share those here as well through your own links.  Happy shooting!

Mexican Sunset

Mexican Sunrise

SC Sunrise

Road to Folly

Folly Beach

Early to bed, Early to Rise

Makes for a great opportunity to shoot sunrises in Rocky Mountain National Park!  And that’s where the Denver Photo Walk Meetup group is headed again tomorrow.  You’ve seen the video here on the blog for a few months now and for those of you that have watched it, you know the light wasn’t as good as we had hoped.  Tomorrow morning, we’re hoping for a different set of lighting conditions.  About 14 of us have made the commitment (so we’re committed!), so it should be a pretty good sized group.

Sunrise is predicted for around 6am, which means about a 5am arrival.  Since it’s about 2 hours away from Denver, we are heading out about 3 tomorrow morning.  So, wish us luck of the light, and have a great weekend.  Don’t forget, the new contest thread is also up for the month of March over on Flickr and a fun subject will make for some great photo ops – ANIMALS! So don’t forget to take out your camera and get some shots.  Happy Shooting and we’ll see you back here again on Monday.

P.S.  Also, don’t forget that the comments are image upload enabled (if your photo is already hosted on a website somewhere of course)…so if you have any sunrise shots you’d like to share from your own neck of the woods, by all means, post away – after all, what fun is photography without sharing? 🙂