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How to take stunning sunset photographs

  There are few photographs that evoke more emotions than a shot of a beautiful sunset. A sunset makes us feel at peace with the world and says: the day is done, it's time to pour a glass of wine and sit back and relax.
 But capturing the magnificence of a sunset with a camera, poses certain challenges.
 "Sunsets are a perennially popular topic for photographers, but getting them right takes some skill." writes Geoff Harris, Editor at MyPhotoSchool in his article, "5 tips for fantastic sunsets."
 He says:
  1.  Use a longer lens
  2.  Set the right white balance (Read "How to use the Kelvin setting on your digital camera and always get the right White Balance").
  3.  Use an object in the picture to block out the sun.
  4.  Switch your camera to centre-weighted or manual metering to get the exposure and effect you want.
  5.  Don't forget about composition.
Think first

 When photographing sunsets think first, what it is you wish to achieve. If you want the subject or foreground to be silhouetted against a bright and brilliant sky, you'll need to meter off the sun. But, if for example, you are photographing someone with the sun setting behind them and don't want them to be a black, human-shaped, blob, you must adopt a different strategy and lock your meter reading on them.
 This presents its own set of problems, as the dynamic range may be greater than can be handled by your camera's sensor, leaving the highlights in your photograph,  blown out. In such a case you'll need to lower the contrast (make the difference between the darkest and lightest points less) by getting more light onto the subject in the foreground. There are many ways to do this but the simplest is using a reflector (a white towel or even a sheet of newspaper works well) and bouncing light back onto the subject. Or by filling in the light with a flash.
 You can read about how to tame harsh light in this article.

 Check out Harris's article and get out there and shoot some sunsets!


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