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07-23-2012, 01:38 AM   #1
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Advice on sunset couple shot?

I'm just looking for some advice for a sunrise shot. I hope Iíve found the right section for this post.

The picture I have in mind looks something like this:
- main subject is the rising sun - should take up a HUGE proportion of the picture Ė as big as possible
- silhouette shots of a couple (actually of me and my wife!), either walking along the beach or one at either side of the sun posing. They should be recognisable in shape but comparatively small when compared to the sun
- itíll go onto a 100cm x 75cm canvas, in landscape orientation, so I guess we need enough resolution for printing at this size.

To do this, I realise I need a VERY long lens plus cropping in PP. I have never worked with anything longer than 135mm. Iíve got a K-5.
- Any recommendation on what lens I can get?
- I can't justify spending a lot at this stage. I'm comfortable with using legacy lenses. I prefer K mount but M42 is fine too.
- I do own a tripod that is rated at 3kg, so I guess that limits the size/weight of the lens
- Whatís the difference between a mirror lens and a normal lens? I like the compactness of a mirror lens prime, but at the same time I also like the flexibility afforded by a zoom

- Working distance
- Presumably when working with such a long lens, I'll need a HUGE working distance between the camera and the couple? What kind of working distance would I be looking at? As mentioned, I've never worked with a very long lens before. In this case, I guess Iíll have to use the cameraís timer and run very fast into position!

Any other piece of advice when doing this type of shoot?

Much appreciated in advance.

07-23-2012, 02:05 AM   #2
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you want a huge sun. alright, this calls for equally huge lens. you want your couple to be small in relation to the sun. this calls for a really huge lens.
if the sun is anywhere near as huge as I am picturing it, you'll be in the range of 300mm+. here's an idea of your working distance: 300mm will give you a decent full body shot from halfway across a football field. If you want to be small in that frame, you're going to be outside of running distance (unless you can sprint 100m and pose within 12s, in which case, bravo to you sir)

as for mirror lenses, the main difference is how the out of focus areas are rendered (donuts) and they have a fixed aperture that's typically quite slow. image quality is a bit of a coin toss

Last edited by adpo; 07-23-2012 at 02:10 AM.
07-23-2012, 04:27 AM   #3
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This would seem to be a case for (a) library/stock photo of sun, plus (b) Photoshop, and (c) your photo.
07-23-2012, 04:43 AM   #4
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To capture this as described would be a very challenging shoot. I have some sunrise shots using a 400mm lens (on APS-C), and while the sun is pretty large in those shots it is nowhere near fillling the frame. I'd guess with 2000mm you'd about fill the short dimension of the frame. At this magnification the sun moves surprisingly fast through the frame. It is also, um, rather bright. I think JohnX is on the right track.

07-23-2012, 07:13 AM   #5
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You can get a wireless shutter release that works up to about 100m, supposedly compatible with Pentax for about $30 on Amazon. Perhaps you'll need to use HDR and cheat a little in Photoshop.
07-23-2012, 07:31 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your responses.

Well, I do actually have a remote, which I forgot about. I suppose I can always ride a bike back!

So do I really need 2000mm?? Does such a lens even exist?

Btw, do you guys have anything that is in a similar vein (sunset with couple - big sun) if you don't mind posting?

Thanks again.
07-23-2012, 08:12 AM   #7
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This is the best example I have seen. A shot like this will require some commitment and perhaps a third person hitting the shutter for you. (or holding your wife's hand :P)
07-23-2012, 01:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
To capture this as described would be a very challenging shoot. I have some sunrise shots using a 400mm lens (on APS-C), and while the sun is pretty large in those shots it is nowhere near fillling the frame. I'd guess with 2000mm you'd about fill the short dimension of the frame. At this magnification the sun moves surprisingly fast through the frame. It is also, um, rather bright. I think JohnX is on the right track.
The Sun will roughly gain

- 1mm in diameter with every 100mm focal length.
- a 400mm lens will render it with 4 mm diameter.
- a 500mm lens will render it with 5mm diameter etc.
- My 1200mm telescope will just fill the frame of the Pentax APS-C sensor with the Sun's 12mm orb (with a small dark frame around).

The same relationship exists with the Moon's size, which by coincidence has basically an angular diameter comparable to the Sun's - which is the reason for eclipses, by the way.

In any case, the shot, the TO dreams of, needs a huge and heavy lens. Even a 500mm mirror lens, which would be the bare minimum to achieve the desired effect, needs a tripod much sturdier than the one available, if it stands alone there, because the photographer wants to be within the picture.

I would suggest to make at least two images independently (big Sun and beach scene with the couple) and combine them on the computer screen. Any single shot solution would require some hrad work. A friend did that many years on film. he wanted the structure of a watch tower in front of the rising Sun. He choose a location, about 4 kilometres distant from the watch tower and used a telescope with 2000mm focal length for that - just to give an idea of the neccessary effort.

Ben


Last edited by Ben_Edict; 07-25-2012 at 12:31 PM. Reason: clarified the numbers for easier viewing
07-23-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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Here's an uncropped shot with a 400mm lens on APS-C:

View Picture EXIF
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So my estimate of 2000mm was wrong; you probably only need 1600 or so to completely fill the short axis of the frame.
07-23-2012, 02:35 PM   #10
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I say make a go of it! But I guess its a question of are you more invested in getting a nice picture for your wife or more invested in the process to get the nice picture with your wife. Although, I think she would really appreciate if you went out of your way to make something like this happen, maybe even as a surprise?

If you want to make a go of it, I do suggest you download The Photographers Epheremis, as it will go a long way with your planning. You will definitely need someone to push the shutter. Sounds like a long lens is a must, perhaps one of those el-cheapo ebay telescope jobs with a couple ND filters mounted on the front.

I understand the perspective from Ben and John, but if you want to try it, try it. Where else are you going to get encouragement to do something like this but from a photography forum. If you do attempt it, just post the results!
07-24-2012, 02:43 AM   #11
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Thanks again for everyone's input. Much appreciated.

You guys post beautiful pictures!

Gareth.Ig, the link to that picture of the eclipse is EXACTLY the kind of thing I'm looking for!

OK, I'm willing to literally go the extra mile to do this, but I'm still a bit confused as to what equipment I need. According to the post she apparently used a 400mm lens (7D is a APS-C right?)? But then I saw the 400mm picture posted by baro-nite, which shows a much smaller sun. And Gareth thinks I need a telescope?? I have never worked with a telescope...

In any case, I can draft in someone to press the shutter for me if need be, so that's not an issue any more. But yeah, I'm still not quite sure how to go about it, i.e. what equipment I need and what distance I have to work with.

OK Ben, I'm not terribly mathematical, but I take it the vibe is the sun moves pretty fast? What kind of shutter speed do I need?

This "project" mainly stems from us having purchased a canvas voucher. Since we're gonna hang it in the living room, we thought we'd take something that will be special to us, so I don't mind putting a bit more effort into it. I'm actually feeling quite excited

Thanks for all the help so far
07-24-2012, 05:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by iht Quote
OK Ben, I'm not terribly mathematical, but I take it the vibe is the sun moves pretty fast? What kind of shutter speed do I need?
You'll need a fast shutter anyway to deal with exposure. The issue isn't motion blur, it's that getting the shot framed and posed will be difficult -- you'll have little time to get it right.
07-27-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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Sorry, didn't mean to leave you hanging. Busy couple days.

Stuff I think you will need (were I the one to attempt something of this nature)
- I didn't mean telescope, I guess I meant one of those 1000mm lens, something akin to this. (don't forget that renting may be a better option, say some combo of a bigma and teleconverter) Also, I assume this is sufficient, I believe \i saw 1600mm above, which may be a better estimate. Unfortunately I can really only encourage!
- A sturdy tripod and head
- shutter guy
- You probably want a very dark ND filter or stack of ND filters on the front of the lens, but I would let others comment on this, I've never attempted taking a telephoto picture of the sun. At the very least your shutter guy will need to be able to look through the viewfinder.
- some means for the shutter guy and yourself to communicate
- the photographers ephemeris - provides sunset times and places sunset line of sight on google maps, so you can plan locations.

Things to assume:
- your not going to get a crisp image - I think the technical term is diffraction, but not certain. I imagine that the amount of light from the sun will result in a fairly fuzzy outline of you and your wife. I could be wrong and would welcome someone to contradict me. I suspect the use of the ND filters may help in this regard.
- you are shooting for effect not image quality, and as such getting high end equipment may not be warranted (e.g. get a cheap Chinese ND filter and don't worry about colour casts
- you may need to crop your image to get the effect you are looking for

I'm sure there is more thinking required, but this ought to get the conversation moving again.
07-27-2012, 06:52 PM   #14
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It's going to be tough to get a balanced exposure too. Without help, the couple will likely be just a silhouette. Help could be a flash or reflector.
07-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #15
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Usually when they do professional shots like that out at the beach with models they have someone at the camera and lights you can't see near the subjects to counteract the fast shutter speed a bit. I think it was Brian Peterson's video that showed himself doing that taking shots of a person on the beach on a surfboard in a similar scenario. Some regular, some silhouette. He used a 300mm zoom lens as I recall. I think there was also a mention of that sitting in the shutter speed book and what settings he used et all. Might want to check that out for reference? One of the Lynda or Kelby videos also talks in depth about situations like that but I don't really remember exactly which one, sorry.
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