Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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18

I think an application called "The Photographer's Ephemeris" might be what you are looking for. It's available for iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X.


17

In my experience, if there's lots of cloud overhead, but a break in the cloud towards the western horizon, then as the sun dips below it will illuminate pretty much the whole sky. Don't forget that the best lighting occurs AFTER the sun has actually set. Make sure you have some foreground interest too, if possible, just to add a bit of depth.


16

Sunrise light is cooler (color temperature-wise) because there are less particles in the air, which is what gives sunsets their multicoloured nature.


15

The golden hour occurs around sunset and sunrise. Its duration is not exactly an hour and depends on location and date. Typically, it lasts between 30 mins (usually in the winter when days are shorter) and 2 hours (usually in the summer when days are longer). However, close to poles it may not happen, or it may last much longer when it is close to a ...


14

I think if you look through pictures you'll find quite a bit of difference, but I suspect much of it is illusory. Specifically, you'll almost certainly find more pictures of really spectacular sunsets than sunrises. I'm not at all convinced that this is because an average sunset is more spectacular though -- it's a simple matter of the number of pictures ...


13

The golden hour is the period of time (roughly an hour) immediately either side of sunrise/sunset. At this time the sun is very low in the sky. As a result the light passes through much more of the atmosphere. The result of this is that: the high frequencies (blues) are filtered out giving a very warm light the light is diffused by particles in the air, ...


12

To make the most stunning sunset/sunrise photos you need at least some post production. Be this in camera via picture styles, during raw conversion or in Photoshop (or its cousins). You also need the most stunning scenery/lighting - that should go without saying. However the thing most often missing when I see people compare their work to others online is ...


11

I've done well with the exposure rules from "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Basically, use manual exposure. You probably want everything in focus, so a high f/stop number (ie small aperture) will help you achieve that. That may mean you need a long-ish exposure, so a tripod would help (and will be essential if you want to use HDR techniques). ...


11

I use LightTrac for the iPad. Not only does it tell you when but also the angle from which the sun will be coming at sunrise, sunset and right now, as the sun position varys seasonally. Besides, it's cool to be able to drag the slider around and see how the direction of the sun rays will vary. So say I want to photograph the tower in the middle of the plaza ...


10

Its near impossible to balance the foreground and the horizon/ambient when shooting into the sun without lighting modifiers, so you have to pick a target. If your target is to expose the sunset correctly, then expose for the sky - a non-white, non sun patch close to your composition, and recompose using those settings. If your target is to expose the ...


10

The Photographer's Ephemeris is a great software package to get started with these sorts of calculations. There is a free desktop version that you can use at home before your trip, and if it turns out to be really helpful, there are paid versions available for iOS and Android. This tool lets you mark a spot on a map and then calculate sunrise, sunset, ...


9

It may be obvious, but you need think about where the sun's going to be and how you're going to shoot it. I remember standing in Bryce canyon waiting for the sun to rise, and noticing a crowd of people away up on the canyon rim. The sun was going to come up behind me, and all the people were over there in front of me (probably within meters of their cars). ...


8

One of the things I've learnt about shooting sunsets is do not try to guess when a good one is going to come or not ... if you've decided to go and shoot the setting sun then go and don't let the weather or other conditions deter you. A good example of this is one day I was on the way to a chosen spot for a sunset session and a storm rolled in obliterating ...


8

Well part of sunset photography IS luck with the elements. But once you have a stunning sunset in front of you, it should NOT be luck from there. Things to consider: Go manual or bracket your shots: Exposure is tricky depending on which part of the frame the sun appears in, you're going to have a very different reading. Bias towards darker exposures ...


8

Sunrise can be a better time to shoot for few reasons too: There are considerably less people about if you are shooting scenery, landscape and/or nature shots. There is often moisture about which can potentially be used to create some unique images .. check out http://www.thetrueshot.com/Photographs/Pages/Drops_Of_Life.html#0 which was shot early in the ...


7

I also have a hard time with sunrise/sunset scenes. I am still working on improving my skill here, but here are some of the things I've learned recently that have begun to help: When metering at the extremes of the day, meter both the darkest part of the scene and the brightest part. Camera sensors have a limited range of contrast that they can capture, ...


6

The effect is known as Rayleigh scattering. Blue light has a wavelength of around 400 nano meters, which is more likely than red light (650nm) to be absorbed by particles in the sky and radiated toward the ground, leaving the red light to carry on and hit our retinas. The water vapour in fog, however, are much too large to scatter individual wavelengths and ...


6

Most P&S I have used does amazing jobs with the built-in presets (Scene modes)! Though most people think the presets are targeted towards amateurs, but trust me they are not! The companies have invested heavy amount of research and money to configure these presets often using real life feedback from very experienced photographers. So I'd not ...


6

From my (family's) observations, generally sunsets have a larger spread of light. Also sunsets have more colour depth. For example: Sunrise (from Wikipedia) Sunset (from wikipedia) This is from our own observations, NOT from any documented sources.


6

It is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to tell at times. Here's a list a strategies I might use to tell the difference: Look for contextual clues. Even a tiny recognizable feature could reveal the cardinal direction. Atmospheric clarity. During a sunrise, the dust has had time to settle at night, making the sky clearer than at sunset, where there is a ...


5

You'd most likely be looking for a day with clearly-defined clouds (any amount is fine) that are high in the air, this way, when the sun moves underneath the cloud layer, you can photograph it. If you're lucky, you may even get some shots of sunrays poking through the clouds, as well. ;) I think the more important aspect about this is not the weather, but ...


5

The sun is in a different place! I know, that sounds obvious, but, as someone living in a coastal city, I though it ought to be mentioned. In the east, if you want the sun over the ocean, that's a sunrise. If you want a sunset over the water, you need to find a west coast. (Any continent will do.) Of course, this extends to non-oceanic photos as well. The ...


5

Sunrise is near the coolest part of the day. As a result, it typically has less wind, and thus less dust. Also, it tends to have somewhat less moisture in the ground than would otherwise be there. All of this causes a few unique affects There will be somewhat reduced haze, making images appear sharper. The lesser amounts of dust will make the sunrise ...


5

The sunset colours are due to Rayleigh scattering, which is when particles in the atmosphere scatter certain light so it doesn't reach you. When the sun is high in the sky the particles scatter red wavelength light, leaving blue and hence the sky looks blue. However during sunset and sunrise the blue is scattered due to the different angle of the light and ...


5

At the equator, you would get 1 minute extra sun at either end of the day per 1.5km of altitude, according to this page. Using trigonometry, for every degree north or south you travel, the extra time the sun would stay above the horizon (per 1.5km altitude) would be (1/cos (latitude)) * 1 minute per 1.5km, giving the following values: 10° : 1.02 min = 1 ...


4

On Android there's a great app called Sun Surveyor. This will tell you sunrise/set/golden/blue times, as others do. But it's got the map view (as shown elsewhere), and another unique feature, which is an "augmented reality" view where you hold your phone up, and it uses the camera to overlay on the real scenery the path that the sun is going to take during ...


4

When it comes to sunrise/sunset shots, a significant part of it is indeed the luck of the draw. It is possible to get just the right kind of lighting...if you have the patience. Many of the best landscape photographers will, quite literally, spend days, even weeks simply waiting for the light they need/want/envision to occur. (A truly fantastic book about ...


4

Dust in the atmosphere is the main cause of colorful sunrises and sunsets. According to wikipedia sunsets tend to be more colorful due to the presence of more dust in the atmosphere at the end of the day compared to dawn. Dust scatters (Rayleigh scattering) the small wavelengths of light (blues and greens), leaving the reds and oranges to come through. But ...


3

While I still think that a truly stunning sunset/sunrise photo is based on a lot of "luck" - there are things I've found that help improve your chances: Carry a camera everywhere. As many times as I've seen a stunning sunset/sunrise, there are times I wish I had my camera handy. Without a camera, you can't capture the scene. :) Start tracking or checking ...


3

Regarding your edited question - is the sunset in a particular location going to be good? For the day itself, use weather forecasts and/or look at the sky - clear skies are interesting but certain types of cloud that catch the colours of the sun are often better. However, for longer-term planning, you can use a tool like The Photographer's Ephemeris which ...



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