A Quick Tip For Better Sunset Shots

Huntington Beach Pier

Sunset Shots Made Easy

My favorite time of day has always been when the sun starts heading towards the horizon. Especially when there are swirling clouds in the sky to add some color and drama. You can make the scene more dramatic by making a few simple adjustments in your camera. The next time you’re enjoying a sunset take a few shots with different exposure settings. We’ve all taken pictures of sunsets, and I’d wager you were disappointed with the results from time to time. If you let the camera do the work for you, your image may look flat and uninspiring. That’s because the camera did what it’s suppose to, which is to get as close to an even exposure as possible, resulting in dull, unsaturated colors. Take control of the situation, and rescue your next image. I’m not saying you need to go to full manual mode, here is a much simpler solution. Turn your camera dial to aperture priority mode. The meter in the viewfinder or LCD will usually show a little graph ranging from -2 to +2 in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 stops depending on the camera and its current settings. Zero is considered (by the camera) to be the best, or correct exposure. Now find the exposure adjustment dial, and flick it a click or two so it reads a negative value. This is Exposure Compensation, you’re  telling the camera you don’t want to have it decide what a good exposure is. Take the shot, you should see a difference between the shot set at zero, and your new adjustment. The colors in the sky are more saturated, but watch out, if you adjust too far, the image will become too dark, especially below the horizon. Land features like hills, trees, buildings will begin to silhouette below around -1. Sunsets where there is water like a beach or lake are a little more forgiving because light will reflect off the surface. That’s it, now go out there and capture some great sunset shots, but first, take a look at a few examples.

Huntington Beach Pier At Sunset

Huntington Beach Pier At Sunset

Channel Islands Sunset

Channel Islands Sunset

Across The Valley

Across The Valley

Desert Sunburst

Desert Sunburst

Brooding Sunset

Brooding Sunset

 

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Eric + Laurisa’s Engagement Shoot

Eric + Laurisa Engagement Session

Eric and Laurisa were on vacation when I met them. They were a long way from their comfortable home in Canada, staying in a hostel in the Gaslamp District when not out exploring San Diego. What’s more, they had just gotten engaged a couple days prior, and were eager to get some engagement shots. After chatting with them for a spell, we decided Ocean Beach would be the perfect place for a shoot.

Their time schedule was rather tight, and wanted to have their images within a couple of days before they flew off to Los Angeles; their next stop . I was only too happy to oblige; while we nibbled on an appetizer platter I sorted through their images, giving them a hand full of images to show off to their friends back home, and brag about their tans in the process.

Congratulations Eric and Laurisa, I wish you the best, and a lifetime of happy adventures together.

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Regulars at Mission Beach

Gull Sunset

Every time I’ve gone to the beach, I’ve seen these guys milling about, and never paid them too much attention, unless they were lining up to bomb me like some strange Mel Brooks ‘The Birds’ parody. Luckily, I’ve only been hit a couple of times in my life, which is really saying something considering the number of times I’ve visited the beach. Anyway, here are a couple of images featuring sunsets, and seagulls.

Take Off Above the Waves

Take Off Above the Waves

Waders

Waders

Gull Sunset

Gull Sunset

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Beach Volleyball Sunset

At Play One Foggy Afternoon

When the combination of volleyball players, the setting sun, and a healthy dollop of fog come together, to not take a picture is almost a sin.

At Play One Foggy Afternoon

At Play One Foggy Afternoon

 

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HDR Sunset Dedicated to My Love

Mission Beach Sunset

Today is a special day for me and my girl…this sunset is for you, extra special like.

Mission Beach Sunset

Mission Beach Sunset – HDR

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Resurrecting the Daily Quick-shot

Dragged out to sea

Yeah, I know, I’ve been slacking in this department…not any more. I’ve got a ton of images just piling up that I’m itching to share. Today’s daily quick-shot is a personal favorite, me (my arm anyway) and my daughter at the beach.

Dragged out to sea

Dragged out to sea

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Adam + Desiree’s Engagement Shoot

Desiree and Adam

Venice Beach provided the perfect location for Adam and Desiree’s engagement shoot last weekend. We spent the afternoon shooting away, and as the sun began to set, the sky exploded with color, giving the couple a spectacular sunset to cap off the session.

Adam and Desiree

Adam and Desiree

Kissing at the Beach

Kissing at the Beach

Desiree and Adam

Desiree and Adam

Just Beyond the Wave

Just Beyond the Wave

A Stroll at the Water's Edge

A Stroll at the Water's Edge

The Carry and Kiss Move

The Carry and Kiss Move

Held By the Collar

Held By the Collar

Watching the Setting Sun

Watching the Setting Sun

 

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Highway 14 – Lucky Shot

Sunset, Truck, and Clouds

While travelling back from Red Rock Canyon yesterday, the sky decided it was time to splash some color on some clouds. I quickly grabbed my camera which was on the passenger seat, and snapped a shot, not worrying to much about compostion, correct focus, you know, the usual things a photographer would do if they weren’t barreling down the highway at 70mph (I was going a bit faster, shhhh, don’t tell my wife). I did see the truck as I raised the camera, but I didn’t think I actually got it in the frame. Anyway, here is today’s Favorite Foto Friday shot.

 

Sunset, Truck, and Clouds

Sunset, Truck, and Clouds

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