Exposure for Tilshead

December 12, 2013  •  1 Comment

Sunsets and Exposures


Do you ever try and take a photo of a sunset or sunrise only to look at the taken image and get disappointed with the results?


WIltshire SunsetsSunset in Tilshead, Salisbury, Wiltshire. December 6th 2013

The first images is what the camera said it should be, the second is what I could see myself


I've been taking photos for years, and every day I'm still learning new skills. One instance was about five or six years ago, dashing out the door with my little compact camera because of a fantastic sunset, scattered clouds and stunning colours (sound familiar??) However, I had the camera set on Auto and the images I saw on the back of the camera was nothing like what I was seeing with my own eyes.

Auto settings on a camera will read the scene and think that it's far too dark, therefore it will either increase your exposure, or open up the aperture to get the image. You then end up with a bright sky and sadly, none of the gorgeous colours or details you can see right in front of you. It's so frustrating !!

Most cameras now allow you choose your own exposure,even compact ones, and this will be come your best friend when trying to capture the scene you can see. You need to expose for the brighter parts of the sky, it will usually mean the shutter is reasonably fast. (which is great, no one wants camera shake in their photos). But when you recompose the shot the camera might try and argue with you but telling you that the exposure is wrong. Ignore it and take the shot, see what you get, I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Playing with the exposure means you can refine the final image. There's 1/3rd of a stop difference in the exposures between each of these images


Cameras are only as intelligent as the data stored in their chips; sometimes you just need to argue with the camera to get the exposure you want. You are the photographer, not the camera; which, at the end of the day, is just a box that allows light to travel through it to a sensor or a film. You control the amount of light, and for how long - these two controls make you the artist, never forget that x


The first image was because I'd made the rookie error of not checking my exposure before I took the shot


Sunsets don't last for long, sometimes you can rush and not check your settings, but sometimes you get happy accidents that leave you with a photo you might not have had otherwise. 

Using a telephoto lens will compact an image, drawing the background into the foreground, compressing the image. A wide-angle lens will do the opposite, stretching the background out and giving a completely different feel to a scene


The first image is with a telephoto lens, compressing the scene; the next two are wider focal lengths, the last shot was to match the exposure to the first shot, which is a truer exposure to what I could see with my own eyes


Cropping the scene can make a difference too. Not all landscape pictures are shot in a landscape format. When you have so much detail in the sky you might decide that it's more important than the rest of the image, so make it a statement and feature it in the final image. You might decide that it's all about the sky, so cut the land out completely and create some abstract art. 


Portrait of a sunsetPortrait of a Sunset in Tilshead, Salisbury, Wiltshire. December 6th 2013

Top left, cropped square with no land in the scene making it more abstract. Bottom left, as I first felt the scene was best presented. Right the final crop, a portrait panoramic landscape.


At the end of the day, the final images you create are down to you. Your camera is way to capture that you see with your eyes, but more importantly, what you see with your heart. 

I'm very lucky that all these images were taken in less than ten minutes and were quite literally on my door step. This field overlooks my front door, or rather my front door overlooks this field. When my living room wall looks like it's on fire then I dash out with my camera and take as many images as I can in the small amount of time I've got before the light fades, the colours dim and the darkness settles in for the night. 


If you've been inspired by these images, then please share your work with me on my Facebook Page I would love to see what inspires you. If you feel that you want to get these kinds of shots but you're not getting this from your camera, maybe a little 1-2-1 training would help you. 




Mrs Withers(non-registered)
So informative and really interesting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Your 1 to 1s must be great.
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