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Sunrise/Sunset photography help

28 Sep 2012 3:54AM
What Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO would be recommended for sunrise/sunset shots?

I have taken the picture below but could not get the right exposure to see the clouds above the tree line, whilst keeping the bridge bright and clear also.

I was told to take several shots with different exposures and blend multiple pictures using photoshop, but didn't quite understand what settings to change for different exposures (e.g. ISO, Aperture or Shutter Speed).

I also have Corel PaintShop Pro X4 but do not really know much about it to be honest, so I wouldn't even know how to blend the images.

All help is greatly appreciated.


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colin beeley Plus
14 1.2k 10 England
28 Sep 2012 4:50AM
you could try putting your flash on then setting exposure compensation -2 on the camera that should darken the sky .
Ade_Osman 14 4.5k 36 England
28 Sep 2012 5:09AM
Think this is a case where a neutral density (ND4 or 8) filter in front the lens was required, I'm no landscape expert but this is how I would have shot the scene. I'm sure some of the landscape boys will be online sooner or later this morning and will point you in the right direction and tell you where you've gone wrong.

RoyChilds 10 85 England
28 Sep 2012 8:09AM
Hi Chris

You need ND grad filters checkout the Lee filters video gives you some idea, there are other makes out there Hitech,Cokin,etc but Lee stuff is very good but expensive.



sut68 14 2.0k 76 England
28 Sep 2012 9:14AM
Grads would definitely help but in this instance they would also darken the bridge down too, so blending in this instance would be a good option. As you don't mention the settings for this shot it is difficult to say what settings you would need, but a shot of probably 2 stops [or more] darker than this exposure and blended in using soft brushes would resolve some of the detail in the blown sky [and water if desired]. You should keep the aperture the same but shorten the length of the exposure time to do this.

Look up HDR in Google and Youtube as another option too, but be creaful with the Tone Mapping as this can and does produce a 'cartoon' appearance.
colin beeley Plus
14 1.2k 10 England
28 Sep 2012 10:21AM
yes HDR would be the best way to go , but that will cost you , but worth it i think as HDR can be fun Wink try here
sherlob Plus
11 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 11:23AM
Listen to Sut68 - Paul knows what he's talking about.
Tooth 12 5.8k 227 Ireland
28 Sep 2012 1:13PM
Welcome to EPZ Chris.

The main problem is the dynamic range in the photo (ie from the darkest to the brightest point) is too wide for the camera to record. If you underesxpose you'd get detail in the sky part but parts of the bridge would be very dark. if you expose to get the bridge right the sky will bleach out to white.

A neutral density filter would darken the sky but everything esle, and also slow down the water and make it silky and milky, which is fine if this is how you want the water to be.

A graduated ND filter as Paul says above would be hard work as the whole bridge would be darkened as it's on the same horizontal level as the sky.

If you've shot in RAW it's possible that there's enough dynamic range in the original that you could create two versions, one exposed for the sky and the other for the bridge, then blend them together - but it depends whether there'sany detail left in the sky at all.

The other way is two or more exposures, on a tripod, where you can vary the shutter speed to get one "dark" shiot and one "light" shot.

IN PSP there's then two ways to go

i) use layers and put one shot over the other and just erase away the bits you don'twant from one version so you can see the other showing through.

(eg put a shot well exposed for the bridge on a layer over a shot exposed for the sky, then carefully erase away the sky area from the top layer so your final shot has well exposed sky and well exposed bridge.


ii) there is an HDR function in PSP X4. It will be a lot of trial and error but would be fun playing with.Bear in mind there are othere better HDR stand-alone programs, but the module in PSP would be a good place to start playing around

BTW don't be persuaded into thinking that you need Photoshop to get this right. It tends to be a generic name now and PSP X4 will do everything you need for a long time..
Good luck and enjoy

mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 1:40PM
The fact that you have some detail on the left suggests that ther is more information than first appears. I have tweaked this to create a rubbish picture but which shows what is possible when doing selective treatment in Photoshop Elements - you will be able to do pretty much the same in Corel.


If you have shot in RAW there will be even more detail possible.

But it is always best to get it better in camera so all the above suggestions are worth trying.

Edited to add: this was a simple global reduction in brightness and a tweak of contrast.
RogBrown 10 3.1k 10 England
28 Sep 2012 2:28PM
Easiest way - 2 shots, one for the sky & one for the b/g & merge the two.
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 5:00PM
There is enough information, even in the small upload to get some sky back.


Added another layer, copied the sky and changed the levels somewhat, then blended back into original. Rubbed out sky of original and feathered the edges, then flattened and saved. That gets rid of the white haloes.

Slightly less exposure will allow you to drag back shadows, as once highlights are gone there is no retrieving them, but shadows are much more forgiving.

pentaxpete 12 631 1 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2012 4:31PM

Here is one of mine taken on FILM -- much easier than Digital ! FUJI Reala 100 is what I used with a 1986 Leica M6 and a 1966 Canadian Leitz 35mm f1.4 Summilux lens -- it is a straight print from the negative. I just made sure to get a light reading frm the sky and sea area away from the actual sun-spot area ( which would have caused under-exposure)

Aperture was f5.6, Shutter speed was 1/250th second to stop movement of the Ship and f5.6 gave a good depth of field -- I took only ONE frame
ssnidey 5 124 United States
1 Oct 2012 3:49AM


Here a couple of mine with nikon d7000, f-16 , 1/10th sec. iso 100 , needs to be on tripod, use remote or self timer on camera

i almost always use single point focus, and a small metering area instead of metering for the whole frame.

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