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Chasing Sunsets

I know I have mentioned it eleventy billion times on all social media channels, but this summer has been rotten. So wet, so cold, so grey and dull.  I hear you all saying "You don't live in Scotland for the weather". I know, but even I need to dry out and get warm at least once a year! 

However, one thing that bad weather teaches you is how to enjoy the sun when you see it.  So, when (after a terribly wet day) the sun broke through the clouds for a sunset on Sunday night, I was out like a flash.

I am a big fan of shooting back lit photos...if I could every photo I take would be back lit or at least in the golden hour, but you know, scotland...rain...grey...

But when the chance is there, I grab it with two hands! 

To get great sunflare and back lit shots takes practice.  It can be tricky to get the exposure and focus right when you are shooting straight into the sun, but its so worth it. For landscapes and still life, my best tips are: 

  • Sun flare is best shot with your lens directly facing the camera, with the sun slightly off centre of the lens.

  • You will need to play around with the exposure you want. Your camera will automatically expose for the brightest part of the photo (the sun) leaving the rest of the shot in shadows. To better expose the foreground, you will need to adjust your settings. You can do this a couple of ways:

    • change the light metering so that you are using spot metering. This will help adjust get the correct exposure on your subject. Don't know how to do that? Read the manual.

    • You can trick your camera by aiming it toward the darkest part of the scene and adjusting your settings then reframing and taking the photo.

    • Simply adjust your settings so the light meter is showing slightly over exposed. This is what I usually do.

  • I almost always adjust exposure initially by shooting in Live View (ie with the screen on), then turn that off to focus. For my camera at least focus is better through the view finder.

  • If you are having problems focusing in the bright light, turn your lens to manual focus or close down your aperture (go to a hight f number) so that more of your scene is in focus naturally. You can also focus at the bottom of your subject and reframe the photo to take the shot.


Tags: tutorials

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