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Photo Tip – How to get the best out of a sunset or sunrise?

This next series of pics shows the same sunset changing. A lot of people make the mistake of not waiting until the very end for the light to totally fade. Light is changing all the time and the colors will be shifting all over the place.
Many people think the sunrise is at best when the sun is just on the horizon and that’s not so. The best part of the sunset if you have clouds is when the sun dips below the horizon. I cant stress that enough.

The further down it goes, the more dramatic the colors will be in the clouds and the more they will be changing.
Don’t make the mistake that so many do and leave once the sun is on the horizon.
Have you ever been in a situation when you have packed up , gone back to the car and once you get in the car,you look skyward and all of a sudden you see the clouds on fire? That’s because you failed to wait for the best part.
You didn’t wait for the sun to really dip below the horizon.

The colours can be going crazy up to 30 minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon. Every sunset is different and not all will fire up. For the sky to catch on fire you need clouds and the other element that you need is usually a gap between the horizon and the clouds. That’s gives a chance for the light to get through and do its magic.
If there is no gap on the horizon then you will not get the sky lighting up, BUT having said that, if you here a gap in the clouds that is just below the horizon that you can’t see, then the clouds will light up and it is game on.

Now you can’t see if there is a gap below the horizon for the light to pop through, that’s why you should never leave until a good time after the sun has gone down.
I have been in many places where it has been totally overcast and just when you thought nothing is going to happen, bang!!! The sky is on fire and you are left stunned.
So never forget, even if it is totally overcast and although you can’t see over the horizon, if there was a gap in the clouds that it is going to happen.
So you just never know and that’s why you wait!!!
If you have a gap and clouds, you will score something. How intense it will be will depend on a number of things but just for now, know that if there is a gap, you will get something from gentle to intense.

Sunrise – it’s the opposite. If you want an awesome sunrise shot, then the complete opposite is true from the sunset. The best time for the clouds to fire up is before the sun comes up. Never time your sunrise shoot at the time the sun is due to come up.
Always get to your destination at least 30 minutes before as in that time leading up to the sunrise, that’s when it will go off off if there are clouds, a gap between the clouds and the horizon and so on. The same principle applies as you have for sunset but in the reverse.
Generally as a rule I get to my sunrise shot 45-60 minutes before as it gives me time to set up, time to look for a good composition and then you have the sense of expectation and waiting. You need to be patient.
Remember the shot doesn’t come to you, you have to go to it.
Happy sunset and sunrise shooting.


Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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