Well, that is the question, isn’t it?
Many photographers talk of being prepared for that perfect photo shoot, but in truth, one never really knows when the most magnificent of sunsets is going to appear.
The smart thing is to:
- Always have your camera with you.
- Always be prepared to take the time necessary for that perfect shot.
Beautiful sunsets can appear anywhere but one can usually count on great sunsets in the mountains or by the ocean.
Watch the Weather
Observing the weather and its patterns is always a factor. Some of the most majestic sunsets are when bad or inclement weather has just calmed down a bit, at the end of the day.
If you are actually going to try setting aside a day to shoot the perfect sunset, then there are a few things to be mindful of so you do not waste your time.
- Watch the weather; if the sky is going to be black with clouds and not hope of a sunbeam bursting through, then you might want to choose a different day.
- Then again, there may be a chance of that beam bursting through for a once-in-a-lifetime shot, so, watch the weather.
Remember, success is in the details; be sure to know what you want and what/when/where your equipment is before venturing out for the perfect shot. Besides your trusty camera, it’s a good idea to have a tripod for sunset shots – that makes getting that perfect still at just the right time a little easier.
Time is of the utmost importance for nature photography; be sure you know the time of the desired sunset and be prepared well in advance.
Photography is Art
As a photographer, you have a sure knowledge that photography is an art medium. Approach your shot like a painting. Make sure that you:
- Obey the Law of Thirds. Never let your sunset be smack dab in the middle of the shot; this will give it a very amateur and juvenile look.
- Allow shadows and contrasting color to enhance your shot.
- Look for possible silhouettes to enhance your picture; they will make the sunset seem even more dramatic.
- Use the surrounding areas as focal points. Things like sculptured clouds, mountain ranges, trees or ocean, can really bring the dramatic into your shot.
Over Do It
Make sure to take many more shots than you think you may need. Once you feel you have a master shot, don’t stop. Take your photos from different angles and perspectives while the sun is still in sight. Take as much as possible until the last light fades. And also take your shots with different exposures.
First of all, the "perfect exposure" might just give your sunset photo a ho-hum look. Experiment! Live dangerously!
Also, one never knows when that one unexpected shot turns out to be the masterpiece. It is better to overdo than to let a perfect shot escape. Learning to take many good shots quickly and efficiently can only make you a better photographer.
So, get out there and, above all, have fun!