View Full Version : Sunset/Sunrise picture help

25-08-2009, 08:35
Gents who know..................

I work at Heathrow and we get some cracking sunsets and sunrises here, and im trying to capture the sunset/sunrise with an aircraft on finals or taking off in the foreground, HELP!

I cant get it right, I have the 400D if it helps! Standard lens........... do have a tripod though so maybe that will help?

Any pointers?

Yes the lens cap is off! :D

25-08-2009, 09:57
Boxy, a few simple tips/suggestions for you...

Tripod - definitely required to prevent camera shake as the shutter speeds will be slow.

Composition - follow the 'rule of thirds' so in your example try keeping the horizon in the lower third with the plane positioned accordingly depending on whether it is taking off or landing.

White Balance - if you are shooting in RAW white balance is not an issue as you can manually adjust the white balance aftereards in Photoshop or similar. If you shoot jpegs then choose 'Daylight' to give warmer, more saturated colours. Not being familiar with Canons, there might even be a 'sunset' white balance option, in which case, use that.

Exposure - probably the most difficult thing to get right! Ideally, you want to get rich and vibrant colours, so it is generally best to under-expose the shot. The amount of under-exposure you dial in depends on the conditions, so start off at -1 and amend as necessary.

It might be best to have a practice run one evening to try out different settings and so forth so that you can then come back the following morning/evening to nail the pefect sunrise/sunset shot....look forward to seeing your efforts, hope this has given you a few pointers :)

Hopefully yours will turn out like this guy's...


25-08-2009, 11:04
Darren thanks a million fella, I will have a play around and stick a few up and see what happens, maybe get some feedback from the ones I take as to how to improve, thanks again fella!

25-08-2009, 11:36
I've got a 400D and find I get the best results using either the P mode or manual mode and trying various exposures. Being a bit of a photographic duffer I am still learning how to get the best from the camera, but I've found you can always tweak the colour saturation on the processing software that comes with the camera. Some may call that cheating, but if you get a good image out of it I'm OK with that.

Here's one that I took a couple of years back; all I did was up the red part of the colour spectrum by about five points:


Sorry about the central horizon! Didn't know about the rule of thirds when I took this, though by chance (or instinct?) I managed to offset the sun so it's about two thirds across left to right. This was hand-held.

Mark Fullbrook
25-08-2009, 11:53
I know I keep on posting links to the Digital Photography school site, but it is one of the best on the web!

Link (http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-sunrises-and-sunsets)

26-08-2009, 13:42
Stick the camera in Tv mode. Decide what shutter speed your going to need... if the plane is just rolling slowly 100th should be fine.. if its near take off speed you'll need a minimum of 320th to freeze the shot.. Then push your ISO up to suit.

26-08-2009, 14:51
Thanks lads had a go this morning and starting to get to grips with it, watch this space!

26-08-2009, 16:33
a telephoto zoom lens would give you the desired results your after boxy, but its wether you want to shell out a fair bit of brass on a lens specific to capturing this kind of shot in all it's glory. it will give you much better scope for zooming in on the subject. ie: plane.
good luck with ya shots bud.

27-08-2009, 21:39
Cheers mate waiting for the perfect sunset/sunrise to have another crack, how much am I looking at for a telephoto zoom lens?

28-08-2009, 07:04
Depends on several factors such as:

How big a zoom do you want? 70mm-200mm? 70mm-300mm?
Do you want a lens with a constant aperture or a min/max aperture?
Do you want an Image Stabilised lens?
Do you want a Canon lens or a third party lens such as Sigma or Tamron?

28-08-2009, 08:47
If you look on the right column next to the Flickr picture that was posted, at the bottom of this column it says "more information". This will give you the exif data so you can see what settings where used to take the picture.


You will need to shoot on a minimum of 1/400th of a second for the shutter speed, however if you are shooting from the side this may need to be higher, by shooting from behind he is somewhat eliminating the chance of motion blur.

He has had to use a small aperture / fstop in order to expose correctly f/6.3. You will get away with using a higher iso speed than he has, id go for 200 or 400 iso, this will give you 2 extra stops of light to play with.

If you do go for a telephoto, the aperture will need to be higher as if you shoot on a 400mm lens, an fstop of 6.3 will not give you a very large depth of field. By shooting at 55mm he is ensuring that this low fstop will ensure front to back sharpness.

The easiest thing for you to do would be to shoot on the Aperture priority mode or sports setting and get as close to the planes as you can.

28-08-2009, 16:27
[quote=Darren1978;1239047]Depends on several factors such as:

How big a zoom do you want? 70mm-200mm? 70mm-300mm?

Do you want a lens with a constant aperture or a min/max aperture?
Do you want an Image Stabilised lens?
Do you want a Canon lens or a third party lens such as Sigma or Tamron?
3rd party is ok with me

30-08-2009, 20:08

Its quite complicated to explain so I'll just refer you to this website...


Hope that helps :thumbs:

01-09-2009, 14:18
Cool thanks Daz!!!!!

14-10-2009, 07:56
Taken any pics yet Boxey?

14-10-2009, 08:13
Yeah got 4/5 on my camera mate will stick them up when I get the laptop fixed, I fiddled about and had the camera on F22 and F12 settings, and it allowed me to take pictures of the sun so without it just whiting out the whole photo, small steps but im getting there!!!

14-10-2009, 08:14
Cool, looking forward to seeing them mate :)

17-10-2009, 07:31
Taken on AP mode with a 450d and untouched with software.
Worked around Heathrow for years so would be nice to see some shots :)