Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Photographing against the sunset for a more dramatic image

My favorite way to photograph sunset scenes is not pointing the camera into the setting sun, but rather to have the sun at my back reflecting off the scene in the opposite direction. Photographing with the sunlight falling on the scene means that there is detail in the scene instead of it being a silhouette. Of course you have to be lucky enough to have everything work out. A good cloud pattern reflecting the colors of the setting sun definitely helps. The right ingredients came together tonight for this view facing north in Manhattan and lighting both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, and, obviously, the clouds cooperated to set the scene. As an added bonus, all the office lights were on in the Empire State Building because sunset is so early this time of year.

An opportunity like this is very fleeting, much shorter than when shooting into the setting sun. I had less than five minutes to set up and shoot. Since I always keep my Fuji X-T1 ready with the 18-55mm lens on it and two other zooms nearby, I was prepared. I ended up switching to the 10-24mm zoom to reach high into the sky and also include the full scene from the west on the left to the east on the right. Even with such a wide lens, I still needed two shots to get a full panoramic of the scene.

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