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  1. #1

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    How to expose for sunset and sunrise?

    Hello everybody,

    As some of you know i am a newbie in film. Never had problem with exposure in digital because i just look at the LCD screen and if it is not good i just change the exposure.

    I am using a Leica M3 and just bought a Gossen Digisix that has both reflective and incident reading. My question is how to expose the meter for sunset and sunrise. For reflective metering where do i point the meter and for incident reading how am i suppose to use it.

    Please help.

  2. #2

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    Sunset and Sunrises are extreme conditions that there is just no way to cover the enroumous brightness range in the scene. I'll probably set my light meter to the reflective mode, then point to a shadow area where I want details to show, then place that in appropriate zone. Even then, I'll probably bracket the heck out of it, say +3, +1.5, 0, -1.5, and -3.0 to be safe.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Sunset and Sunrises are extreme conditions that there is just no way to cover the enroumous brightness range in the scene. I'll probably set my light meter to the reflective mode, then point to a shadow area where I want details to show, then place that in appropriate zone. Even then, I'll probably bracket the heck out of it, say +3, +1.5, 0, -1.5, and -3.0 to be safe.
    I agree. Bracket is the key.

    Jeff

  4. #4
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    It is very hard to expose 'wrong' for sunsets. Large changes in exposure don't necessarily ruin the photo, they just change the mood and interpretation of the sunset photo. Exposing for sunsets has more to do with what you want than with what is 'correct', so just bracket and remember. Luckily the sun has not changed brightness in several eons so it is easy to retain the exposure settings you used for another day.
    f/22 and be there.

  5. #5
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    My father used to aim his lightmeter straight up (vertically) to meter for sunsets. It seems to have worked as all of his old sunset shots on Kodachrome will testify.


    Steve.

  6. #6

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    I try to decide that based on how saturated I want the sun or the sky / clouds to be depending on the mood I want to convey and the composition I have in mind. Accordingly I choose the neutral points, meter and shoot.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    My father used to aim his lightmeter straight up (vertically) to meter for sunsets. It seems to have worked as all of his old sunset shots on Kodachrome will testify.


    Steve.
    Well now, that's interesting. Have you yourself tried this method? I've never heard of it, but it sounds like it could be a good rule of thumb type of thing.
    K.S. Klain

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    My father used to aim his lightmeter straight up (vertically) to meter for sunsets. It seems to have worked as all of his old sunset shots on Kodachrome will testify.


    Steve.
    This would give you a reading that places the sky away from the horizon at the equivalent of 18% grey. That might be a useful starting point. Good suggestion.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klainmeister View Post
    Have you yourself tried this method?
    I tried it once with one of those alternative technology cameras but I don't remember what the outcome was.

    As has been stated earlier, the brightness range of a scene at sunset or sunrise is very wide, especially if you are including the sun or even clouds lit by the sun behind them and as such, there is not one correct exposure, but a range of exposures based on what you want to achieve.

    If you have some foreground interest such as some trees which you want to appear in silhouette then metering from the sky away from the sun (or possibly straight up!) will give you this. If you want some more detail in the shadows then you will need to expose a bit more but it will be at the expense of some of the brighter parts of the scene.


    Steve.

  10. #10

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    Usually the sky and clouds are the subjects of sunrise and sunset pictures. Using transparency film, I metered the sky 60 to 90 degrees from the sun, closed down two f-stops from the meter reading and shot away. Result was beautiful, saturated sunsets. Sunrise was usually too early for me.

    Buje

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