2011年5月9日 星期一

Techniques of shooting sunrises and sunsets

Sunrises and sunsets are the most popular, but also the most difficult landscape photography subjects. First of all, you need to get up early or stay up late to see the rising or setting sun. And secondly, you have to be familiar with the basic techniques of photography. “I am an early bird. Can I use a compact DC to shoot pictures of sunrises and sunsets?” You might ask this same question… and the answer is yes! I captured some beautiful pictures of sunrises when I visited Yunnan Province in China. Let me show you some tips on how to shoot such scenes with a BenQ DSC.


Picture 1. BenQ 1410. Program mode, center weighted metering & cloudy WB.


Picture 2. To shoot photos of a sunrise, you have to get up early.


A. Shooting pictures of sunrises

1. Use center-weighted metering mode
If you select Manual, Program or AV mode of BenQ 1420/1410, you have three different metering modes from which to choose. These are, matrix, center-weighted and spot. For a scene with high contrast it is best to use the center-weighted mode. 


2. Meter on the medium bright (or medium-toned) areas

In shooting the picture 3, I used program mode combined with center weighted metering and metered on the medium bright areas. The circle on the picture shows the metering location. If I had metered on the brightest areas, close to the sunshine, the photo would have been underexposed. On the contrary, suppose I had metered on the darker areas, on the mountains, the photo would have been overexposed.


 

Picture 3. The circle on the picture indicates the medium areas to get metered on. Program mode, center weighted metering & Cloudy WB.

To use center-weighted metering, you have to:
1)   Point the center the frame (LCD) to the medium bright areas of the scene,

2)   Press the shutter button halfway and hold it to lock the exposure,

3) Re-compose the image and press the shutter button to take the picture.


Picture 4. The above picture was taken in Yunnan Province of  China. Luckily, I didn’t have to get up very early to take the sunrise in a sea of clouds, because the roof of the hotel I stayed was an ideal spot to take the picture. Program mode, center weighted metering & daylight WB.

3. Use cloudy white balance

Picture 4 and 3 were shot with daylight and cloudy white balance (WB) respectively. The color temperature of picture 4 is cool. In order to get a warmer feeling, I changed the WB to cloudy when shooting picture 3. You have to use Program, Manual or AV mode to obtain the WB settings.





The above picture was also taken in front of another hotel that I stayed in Yunnan Province, China. Program mode, center-weighted metering & cloudy WB.

B. Shooting pictures of sunsets

 

1. Sunset mode

Now you know how to shoot pictures of sunrises. It’s easier to take pictures of sunsets. The tips for shooting both subjects are almost the same: use program mode combined with center-weighted metering and meter on the medium bright areas. However it is easier to shoot sunsets than sunrises. There is a simple way to do this: sunset mode. If the timing is right, you can get a colorful picture of a sunset by simply using the sunset mode alone.





BenQ 1420. Sunset mode.

 

2. Waiting for the magic moment

When shooting sunsets, you need to wait until the sun almost touches the horizon, or is lurking behind thin clouds. During this time, the color temperature of the skies is warmer than ever and changes from yellow, through gold, to pink and finally purple. It’s the most beautiful and magical moment of the day.


BenQ 1420. Sunset mode.



BenQ 1420. Sunset mode.


C. Other Landscapes shot with a BenQ DC
 



Taipei city with blue skies and white clouds. BenQ 1420. Program mode.


Mt. Qixing(七星山), the highest mountain of Taipei city. BenQ 1410. Program mode.


Tterraced fields. Yunnan pvovince, China. BenQ 1410. Program mode.