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06-22-2016, 07:48 AM   #1
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Grand Teton

I'd like some suggestions of settings for shooting the sunset at the Grand Teton. Morning shots are a breeze but the evening sunset has me totally confused . I'm using the 12 to 24 mm wide focus lens . I think I'm having a white balance concern.

06-22-2016, 08:06 AM   #2
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If you're shooting RAW, don't get overly concerned about white balance. You can correct that in post processing. If you're shooting jpegs you can take a shot, then review it with different WB settings (I think, I know I do for RAW). Find the one that looks right and use that. Also check your histogram to make sure you don't blow the highlights. If you're getting a lot of dynamic range in your shot you may need to dial in negative exposure compensation to protect highlights. Overexposure could also be affecting how the sunset light appears in the final product.
06-22-2016, 08:07 AM   #3
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My settings for sunsets.

RAW
Daylight WB
Turn off White Balance Adjustable Range C>2>11 on the K-7
Underexpose 1,2 or even 3 stops alternatively meter on bright part of the sky.
Take many shots at various exposures
06-22-2016, 10:49 AM   #4
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If you shoot raw, you don't have to worry about white balance, because you can fix it in post without losing any quality. Here is what I would do:
- shoot raw dng
- tripod, 2sec timer (or remote triggering to minimize vibrations). Don't even walk around the tripod during the exposure.
- Daylight WB or CTE (this emphasizes the colours, can be good in some situations, but it can be overbearing in others). I would shoot CTE, and you can always switch to "daylight" in post
- low ISO
- f8 (at least in the f6.3-f11 range)
- check level so that horizon is not crooked. Sensor should be as level as possible
- Take one photo with the normal metering (matrix metering, probably)
- Check histogram of the photo and expose to the right (so that most of the histogram is on the right side, overexposed), but make sure it does not actually go over the edge on the right. This is ETTR technique (expose to the right)
- Take some more photos - keep in mind that at sunrise (and sunset, only reverse) the light conditions are changing rapidly, so you will need to adjust settings every couple of seconds or use Auto. I would recommend you take as many photos as you can fit in the short time frame, and do some slight movements and changes. Move the tripod 5 feet, zoom the lens, change the tripod height. Keep in mind, with 12mm you will have to be very close to the mountains. And you will probably need an interesting foreground so you can avoid capturing a lot of empty sky or bland foreground
- Darken the photo in Post Processing (using Lightroom, Nic efex, RawTherapee, whatever). Like, by a lot. So much that the parts the sunset is illuminating seem "normal" even if everything else seems dark. Since the files are raw, you can even do virtual copies and try different processing, and you can always reset back.

That is a great location, and it is famous enough that you can google it and look at how other photographers took photos there. This can give you some great tips on what to avoid and what works well, and which lens/focal length to use. While wide angle can be great, you might want a telephoto for a closeup of the clifface - see what has been done in the past and what can be done. I would avoid wider than 14mm, but it depends on how close you are.

---------- Post added 22nd Jun 2016 at 19:52 ----------

Focus is another issue. My (U)WA lenses are manual focus, so I have learned about their hyperfocal. If you want to use zone focusing or hyperfocal, you need to master it before you go out! Otherwise you risk wasting the moment. Better stick to centre-point AF than to experiment and lose the opportunity. But if you want to use hyperfocal, learn it correctly on each of the lenses you will use. Feel free to use Live view with focus peaking and digital zoom (important!) to set good focus, this is probably the best to do it on the fly. Problem is that many lenses have unlabelled or miscalibrated distance scales.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-22-2016 at 11:10 AM.
06-22-2016, 12:39 PM   #5
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don't forget your GND filters....
06-23-2016, 04:06 AM   #6
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Give HDR a try. The K-3 can do it in both jpeg and RAW.

A few days ago I shot directly into the rising sun, but didn't want to lose the color in the backlighted ground foliage.
Auto-HDR +/-3EV, with a bit of a tweak in Adobe Camera RAW for final exposure and small bump to saturation to restore the sky color the high-side of the exposure toned down.
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