12.19.14 Rick's Quick Fix Friday: Capture Awesome Sunrises/Sunsets

Happy Friday! I hope you get to see some great sunsets over the weekend. If you do, here are five quick tips to help you get great shots.

Starburst Effect. When the sun is in the frame, set your aperture to f/22 to get the starburst effect. The wider the lens, the more pronounced the starburst effect. Also, make sure your lens is totally clean. Even a tiny speck of dust can look like a big blobg in a picture when you are shooting into the sun. Location: Spearfish, South Dakota.

No Filters. When shooting into the sun, remove all filters from your lens, even your skylight filter. When a filter is on your lens, the sunlight passes through the filter and may (depending on the angle of the sun) bounce off the front element of your lens and back onto the filter, creating a ghost image of the sun in your frame - which you see here. Location: Key West, Florida.

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Foreground Element.  When ever possible, use a foreground element to add a sense of scale to your photograph.  Also, the more “layers” you have in a scene, the greater the sense of depth. Here there are three layers: bird in the foreground, birds in mid-frame, and the mountains/sun in the background. Location: Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

Silhouettes. When photographing someone against a sunrise or sunset, have him or her look directly left or right so you can see his or her profile. If they look at the camera, you will not be able to recognize them. Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Expose for the Highlights. In high-contrast situations, it’s important to expose for the highlights. Make sure your camera’s highlight alert feature is activated and avoid “blinkies.” Also check your histogram and make sure you don’t have a big spike on the right. Location: Spearfish, South Dakota.

Need help finding the best light this weekend? Check out my Photo Sundial app (screen grabs above) on my iPhone and iPad apps page. A Bosque app is there, too.

Have a fun-in-the-sun and creative weekend.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you like photographing horses, I have a few horse photography workshops in 2015.

Day 7: Seven Days of Sunrise/Sunset Photography Tips

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To celebrate the release of my Photo Sundial app, which runs on the iPhone and the iPad,  I am running a series here on my blog: Seven Days of Sunrise/Sunset Photography Tips. Each day I'll share two tips from the Gallery section of the app, for a total of 14 images. Check out all the images in the app, which is on sale until September 30th.

Today is Day 7.

Go for Black-and-White. Strong shadows at sunrise and sunset help to produce dramatic images. Those strong shadows can look even more dramatic in a black-and-white photograph. Remember: light illuminates, shadows define. Topaz Black-and-White Effects and Nik Silver Efex Pro are the two plug-ins I use to create my black-and-white images. Location: Death Valley, California. FYI: I'm doing a workshop in Death Valley in 2014. Info on my 2014 Workshops page.

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Adjust Your Exposure. As the sunrises and sunsets, your exposure will be constantly changing – quickly. Keep checking your pictures on your camera’s LCD monitor to make sure you are getting good exposure. Remember: your histogram is your camera's light meter.

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Read more about Photo Sundial - the app that helps you find the position of the sun so you can make awesome images - and much, much more.

Explore the light,