Posts Tagged ‘Photomatix Pro’

Mastering Light – Sunrise and Sunset

February 1st, 2015

We all love a beautiful sunset, especially when the clouds glow with color. The same happens with sunrise although there may not be as many of us up to enjoy it. There’s something special about sunsets and sunrises that bring joy and wonder to our hearts.


My personal favorite is sunrise. I like to arrive while it’s still dark and set up my camera in the cold, crisp morning air. I like standing under the fading stars waiting for the sun to come. I like the stillness of the earth at that time of day. For me, it’s magical.

To get the most out of sunrises and sunsets, it’s helpful to know what’s going on in the sky. (I’ll talk just about sunrises now but much of the same things apply to sunsets.) A lot depends on the clouds. If the sky is completely overcast then you’re not likely to have much of a sunrise or sunset. If the sky is clear then you’ll have a totally different experience. But if the sky is strewn with scattered clouds you may be in for a wonderful experience.  And yet it’s hard to predict.

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High Dynamic Range Processing

November 29th, 2008

High Dynamic Range or HDR has become a standard and often used tool when I’m in the field.  For example, a few weeks ago when I was shooting sunrises in Bryce Canyon we would arrive well before sunrise.  Generally I would start shooting when it was light enough to get a good exposure at 30 second, ISO 100 and f/16.  That’s a good 20 to 30 minutes before the sun peeks over the horizon.  In that wonderful pre-sunrise light the dynamic range is very low, maybe a total of four or five stops.  There is no need for HDR because under those circumstances I can get a good 8 and if I want 9 stops of dynamic range from my sensor.

But as soon as the sun is above the horizon all that changes.  The dynamic range jumps to at least 8 stops, probably more.  (I don’t take the time to scintifically measure the dynamic range because things happen so fast in those first few minutes.)  I don’t want to take any chances with that incredible light so I switch to HDR, just for insurance if nothing else.

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