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02-14-2009, 09:35 AM   #1
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Taking pictures of the sunrise...

Rookie question here...

So I got up early and tried to learn how to use my tripod (success!) and take some shots of the sunrise (failure!!)....

If I got a good shot of the sky, the landscape was black... If I got any detail in the ground, the sky was washed out....

I tried to do some exposure bracketing, but didn't really help.

I guess I could fix this in photoshop by selecting the group and bringing the exposure up selectively...

But is there any way to do this while shooting? is there a technique to this? Do I need a filter? Some special manual settings? What settings are best for sunrise shots?

I'm shooting a K20D with a kit lens 18-55 ALII.

Thanks!

Ken

02-14-2009, 09:47 AM   #2
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a classic problem. you can buy neutral density filters, I believe, that reduce exposure in the top-half of the frame (I've never used so I'm not sure how well they work). Otherwise post-processing. An obvious answer would be HDR (high dynamic range) shooting, search the forums or wikipedia for more info on that.
02-14-2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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You can try the multiple exposure function of the K20D. This will let you take 2, 3 or 5 shots with at different shutter speeds, and they will then get automatically blended in the camera.
Another common trick is to shoot raw and fiddle with the white balance in post processing. This lets you get those intense red sunrises, or even purple.
02-14-2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice!

I did do the multipe exposure bracketing, but it doens't automatically mix the shots. I think you have to do that yourself. It's more intended for just shooting mutiple exposures to see which is the best I think. However, I guess you could combine them for some kind of HDR effect....

thanks again!

Ken

02-14-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Bracketing doesn't automatically create a 'blended' HDR image for you - that's done in PP.
HDR is a skill in itself. Best to practice with your PP software on how best you can perform the HDR function. See how you go.
02-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #6
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K20D and Multiple Exposure

QuoteOriginally posted by Javaslinger Quote
Thanks for the advice!

I did do the multipe exposure bracketing, but it doens't automatically mix the shots. I think you have to do that yourself. It's more intended for just shooting mutiple exposures to see which is the best I think. However, I guess you could combine them for some kind of HDR effect....

thanks again!

Ken
Normal bracketing, which is selected with the button on the back of the camera, is not the same thing as multi-exposure. For the latter, you must go into the menus and select "Multiple Exposure", you then select how many shots to combine on a single frame and whether to average the exposure or use them all as is.

I have a K10D, but I'm sure that the function is the same in the K20D.

And, yes, some photographers do use the multi-exposure feature to do in-camera HDR.

Sunrises and sunsets are among the most difficult exposure problems in all of photography, as you have found out. You are, after all, shooting directly into the sun. Even the human eye, which has a dynamic range that is several times that of the best digital cameras or film, can not handle that situation.

Paul Noble
02-14-2009, 10:57 PM   #7
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As Paul mentioned, there are two different options, auto bracketing and multiple exposure. Multiple exposure isn't exactly HDR, but can give you some extra stops dynamic range.
02-15-2009, 01:00 AM   #8
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A 3rd option is to shoot in RAW and to modify the Brightness histogram at both ends afterwards, particularly the dark end. This will give you a stop or so extra dynamic range. Shoot to just fully expose the brightest bit.

Dan.

02-15-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Ken,

The best option for getting the most image quality is to use a neutral density graduated filter. Do not use the circular kind as they are a bit difficult to align with the horizon. Get Cokin-style rectangular filters. You will also need a Cokin "P" style holder that mounts on your camera.

These filters look like a clear plastic rectangle with half of it looking like a sunglasses. Where the clear and the sunglass meet, it gradually blends. This allows you to "darken" the bright part of your image (the area from the horizon upwards) and leave the foreground exposed properly.

Be warned...it is not a quick fix to your problem. You will need to learn how to use one properly and it takes some patience. But once you figure it out, it will add a whole new dimension to your sunrise photo experience. Combine this with some post-processing, and you will be amazed.

After trying several brands and price ranges, I use Singh Ray filters almost exclusively. They are spendy but you get what you pay for. Cokin brand ones are good enough for practicing but I could never achieve the results I have with Singh Rays.
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