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01-09-2019, 05:10 PM   #1
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Iím using Pentex K5 with sigma 70-300 zoom. Using uv filter on lens most all sunset pictures come out under exposed. Iíve tried modes: P, AV, M, Auto. Used different F stops f 14 usually. Shutter speeds several. Sun has too much color bursts. Colors seem off to. Do I need to just use a wide angle lens with polarizing filter? Need to read more I guess. Daytime pics look fine. JB

01-09-2019, 05:18 PM   #2
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try it without the filter, see how you like it...
01-09-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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Depending on the stage of the sunset, sunset exposure can be very tricky. If the sun is still visible and not weakened by haze then you have a very bright object relative to the rest of the scene. This actually applies to daytime shots too, which is why you generally don't include the sun in daytime pictures. If the sun is visible in a sunset shot, I tend to let the sun appear as totally white (blown highlight) in an attempt to make the rest of the scene have the best exposure possible. You could also try HDR if your camera has that feature. In most cases my preferred sunset shots are after the sun has disappeared, which usually maximizes the color, or when the sun is an orange globe due to haziness that diminishes the brightness. I will always let the actual scene determine the lens / focal length as I only want to capture the area that is interesting / attractive. I have used a gradient ND filter a few times when the top half of the scene is very bright and the lower half is dark. You can also adjust the exposure if you do post processing, perhaps lowering the highlights and raising the shadows.
01-09-2019, 06:13 PM   #4
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I prefer images from my K-7 over the K-5 IIs where sunsets are concerned. I feel the newer camera does not record the colours as well. A subjective opinion I know and I have not attempted to to get to the bottom of it. Sunsets can be tricky for auto modes as the range of EV can exceed the cameras' dynamic range. I tend to expose for a bright part of the sky, not directly at the sun. In fact I try to avoid have full sun in the image. Bracketing shots can help. I am not sure a polarising filter will help at all. A little underexposure in post will help to bring out the colours in the sky.

Post some samples as they will assist in evaluating what is going on.

01-09-2019, 07:20 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I should compare the K-7 and K-5 IIs, since I have both.

The white balance is often what causes colors to not look like you expect. Auto white balance is like asking a six-year-old to pick an ice cream flavor. Sunsets have all kinds of colors in unusual patterns so the camera has a hard time choosing. The exposure meter has trouble too. It is a good time to use DNG instead of JPG. You can process the DNG with any white balance you want. And modern sensors have a lot of exposure latitude, so if you underexposed, you can often create the image you wanted in processing.

I think a polarizing filter won't do anything pointed at the sun, if I remember how they work correctly. Any filter might give you extra flare. Sunset photos sometimes look good with flare, so that might be OK.
01-09-2019, 08:02 PM   #6
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I would spot meter the clear sky near to but not at the sun, and pay attention to the back lit areas and whether you want them to have detail (which may be impossible), or be dark shapes.

Remember where you metered and then review the results--to provide feedback for the next time. From experience you will find setting the e.v. compensation handy. Matrix or center weighted metering is not able to handle a sunset/sunrise well.

And usually try and use the lowest iso to give the broadest dynamic range. If you are not using raw, either you should, or have it as a file for later use, so a killer shot can get the best pp.

A filter should not give exposure problems, but it will do no good, and certainly will give more (and possibly significant) flare.
01-10-2019, 01:13 AM   #7

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A picture would help indeed, as would information on whether you're capturing in JPEG or RAW. A polarizer works best if your lens points at a 90 degree angle to the sun, so if you want to include the sun, it's not going to add too much (except for acting as a 1 stop ND filter). Good luck with this, sunsets are worth the wait, effort and postprocessing.
01-10-2019, 01:43 AM - 1 Like   #8
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There's an old film shooter's trick for sunsets that still works with digital. Set your camera to centre-weighted metering and take a reading off the sky facing directly away from the sun. And don't let auto white balance spoil things: either set your white balance manually to daylight when you shoot, or set it to around 5600K when you process the raw file.

01-10-2019, 11:20 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
try it without the filter, see how you like it...
Thanks for info. Worth a try.
01-10-2019, 12:02 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Yes, UV filters aren't really necessary now, the camera has that built-in and film was FAR more sensitive.
Polarizers will cut light by a significant amount, but might create some useful effects.

Try without filters, and don't be afraid to meter the sun directly if it's low enough...and red...and be careful. You can always bring the exposure up in your post-processing. You'll likely need to if you're metering the sun. You can get interesting effects, but you'll need to act quickly as the sun approaches the horizon.

01-10-2019, 01:56 PM   #11

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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
There's an old film shooter's trick for sunsets that still works with digital. Set your camera to centre-weighted metering and take a reading off the sky facing directly away from the sun. And don't let auto white balance spoil things: either set your white balance manually to daylight when you shoot, or set it to around 5600K when you process the raw file.
This is the gist of your problem- tricky lighting that fools the camera's meter, and is one reason you have advanced equipment over a phone or a point-and-shoot (although some of them might have "SCENE" modes for sunsets). Your meter is sensing a lot of light coming in from the sun and is therefore cutting exposure down. This is the time to use the Manual mode. Do your own meter-reading. Use the spot meter. Temporarily set your camera to manual focus because we don't need it to go into focus-hunting while we take meter readings. Pick a mid-tone area of the sky, not a bright area and not the darkest, and go by that meter reading (get a centered reading and set your exposure parameters accordingly). Now when you reposition your camera to take your shot, your selected aperture and shutter speed will stay where you put them, even though your meter will now show overexposure. Ignore that, of course. Reset focus to AF or focus manually.

Foreground subjects will now be in silhouette, unless you employ flash. This technique works fine for either RAW or JPEG shots.

I am quoting Dartmoor Dave, but I am using this in addressing the OP, of course.

Last edited by mikesbike; 01-10-2019 at 04:31 PM.

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