15 EASY TIPS FOR BETTER SUNRISE PHOTOGRAPHY

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#2 BRING EXTRA LIGHT

The need for some light may seem obvious. But the amount of students who come over for a sunrise workshop with a torch or a headlamp is zero. No one had it. But everyone agreed it would be beneficial to have one. So, bring a headlamp or a torch. If you hike in the mountains or some rough terrain, I’d recommend having a headlamp to keep your hands free. You may want to use a walking stick or swing a tripod to get rid of the spider webs or cast a fireball after all. On smooth terrain, you could get away with a torch.

However, a hand-held lamp has some advantages comparing to the headlamp. Typically, these torches are more powerful and you could:

  1. Temporarily blind a burglar
  2. Use an intense light to focus your camera
  3. Do light-painting more easily
  4. Create a powerful beam and capture it in the photo

Personally, I have both and not planning to ditch one of them.

#3 LIGHT BLEEDING VS. STARBURST

STARBURST

Sunburst, also known as starburst effect, makes every photo way more alive and entertaining. You’ve undoubtedly seen it and probably read about it in my Starburst Tutorial article. The article has an infographic and an explanation along with a whole gallery of examples. So, read that one too. The only thing I need to add is that the starburst heavily depends on the mechanical build of the lens and will appear differently for each lens. In my experience, the wide-angle lenses produce the best stars. My Nikon 50 mm lens delivers enormous weird ultra-thin rays, so I tend to use Tamron 15-30 for this effect.

LIGHT BLEEDING

So, for the starburst, we need f/16. Does it mean all smaller f-values are useless? Absolutely not! And photographers keep forgetting or even not giving it a thought. Let’s apply some common sense. When we close down an aperture, we are getting less diffraction, hence more prominent lines. On the contrary, when we open a hole, we get more diffraction and less noticeable lines. The further we go down, the less prominent effect we are getting. On f/13 we still see a pretty substantial star, same for f/9 and that gradually decreases until… Until what? It decreases until we get a warm shiny glowing light orb! Its edges go far across the darker objects near it causing an effect known as Light Bleeding.

You may need to take several shots to blend this part in. One shot for the depth of field, the other one for the light bleeding effect. It is easier to create such effect for the lower Sun position. The higher it goes, the stronger light it produces making it harder to balance our sunrise photo.

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