If there is any time of the year to snap a spectacular shot of a sunset it’s now. Summertime means frequent trips to the beach and whether you are spending time at the shore on the East Coast, a coastal retreat out west or camping in the heartland you are bound to witness an awe-inspiring sunset at some point. The trick is doing justice to its beauty with your camera.
The following are tips to consider before pointing and shooting at the horizon this summer:
Think about your composition. Do you want a simple shot of the sun setting taken from the shore or are you looking to capture the end of the day from a unique angle that requires advance set up? Are you planning to add other subjects to your shot? For instance, are you traveling to the beach to capture your daughter’s face as she witnesses her first sunset at the beach? Or do you want to snap family members or other subjects silhouetted against the sunset? Another option is to include a landmark to remember where you were. The point is to use the sunset as the perfect background to a personalized shot and by planning ahead you won’t be scrambling at the last moment to make it happen.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The colors associated with a sunset are constantly changing so you need to keep your finger moving. Be prepared to fire away throughout the entire experience. On occasion I have taken dozens of photos while trying to capture a brilliant sunset. This is especially easy to do when you have a digital camera. Snap all you want in the moment and go back later and delete the shots you don’t think are print worthy. Another advantage of shooting a ton of shots is that you will capture a sequence of colors that you normally wouldn’t get to focus on for very long with the naked eye.
Since your camera is more apt to see the dark foreground and the bright tones of the sky you may be better off underexposing your photo during the peak moments of a sunset so your shots come out a bit darker. Overexposed shots yield washed out pics while those that are slightly underexposed will be much more vibrant and saturated.