Shooting Challenge: Sunrise, Sunset

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Sunrise, Sunset

It's the quintessential landscape photo: the sunset, nature's own daily-painted masterpiece of texture, color and light. And for this week's Shooting Challenge, I want you to go out and capture the poor, workhorse of a star's soul. UPDATE


I don't want to focus on this point any longer. But before we move on, I'd like to request anyone taking part this week to really take part this week. We all have sunset photos in our collection—definitely feel free to share them in the comments. But in the spirit of Shooting Challenges, weekly homework that helps us all grow as an artistic community, let's all do something new. Cool? Cool.

The Challenge

Capture a sunset however you like, just include those fleeting moments somehow as part of your photo.

UPDATE: And at the request of many, we'll allow sunrise photos as well as sunset. The methods for both types of shots are one in the same, so whichever works better for your region and/or schedule, go for it.

The Method

Technically, photographing a sunrise or sunset isn't extremely difficult so long as you have a tripod. But scouting a location ahead of time to frame your shot—maybe the day before—is a key to success.

Squidoo points out that wide angle lenses will often just shrink the size of the sun in your frame. Telephoto may be the way you want to go.

World Through the Lens warns to be wary of unnatural light sources mixing in your frame as they can be unpredictable.

SLR Photography Guide suggests an aperture of f/8 - f/11 to get the whole image in focus.


Of course, I could see success in breaking the rules on any of those tips. And we haven't even mentioned the possibilities of HDR.


My personal, practical suggestion would be that everyone capable of shooting in RAW does so. Adjusting white balance on the fly is great, but sitting in Photoshop later, tweaking what's just interpreted sensor data anyway, will offer you the chance for the color to be perfectly represented pretty much no matter what happens in the field.

The Rules - READ THESE

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos need to be taken the week of the contest.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. (The 800px image is the one judged, so feel free to crop/alter the larger image for wallpaper-sized dimensions.)
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Sunday, August 1st at 11PM Eastern to with "Sunset" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameSunset.jpg (800px wide) and FirstnameLastnameSunsetWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

[Lead Image by *L*u*z*A*]

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Grand Cayman Island, sailing the Jolly Roger along 7-Mile Beach in 2006 with my crummy 8 MP Sony point and shoot.

The sun set very quickly and looked very different as you can see...