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Expose Sunset


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#1 anthony derose

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 06:44 PM

I know this question has been asked many times on this forum and I've read most to see if I could find out my answer. But what is the best way to expose for a sunset?

I know it determines on what is more in frame the sunball or sky and you lean to either or. My confusion arises from what if you have talent in the foreground backlit by the sun, not wanting a silhouette effect couldn't you expose for them undexpose them a stop since there facing away shadowed a bit, and get a good exposure for foreground plus back?

Also in the case of silhouetting or exposing for more of a landscape what is wrong if you just read the light hitting the dome from the sun+sky. As if you had someone facing the sun and were reading the light hitting them?

If this can't work I understand you can read a cloud that looks to be somewhat towards 18% and go for that.

If you read the blue sky with a spot and set it to the stop you get it will turn out medium gray? And if so I assume you'd have to open a stop.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:04 PM

In terms of exposure it all depends what you are going for, there is no right or wrong but the photographer's vision and the skill to pull it off.

"I know it determines on what is more in frame the sunball or sky and you lean to either or. My confusion arises from what if you have talent in the foreground backlit by the sun, not wanting a silhouette effect couldn't you expose for them undexpose them a stop since there facing away shadowed a bit, and get a good exposure for foreground plus back? "

If you want to shoot someone against a bright background without going with a dark silohuette, one way to do it is to measure the two exposures (sky and subject) and split the exposure between them and fix it in post, if your medium has enough latitude. That said, the best way probably would be to bounce some of the light from the sky on to your subject with a bounce board, that way the contrast wouldn't be so great. It also depends what film stock or medium you are using, for video doesn't have the latitude that film does. But it also depends if the sun ball is in the shot or not, as you said.

"Also in the case of silhouetting or exposing for more of a landscape what is wrong if you just read the light hitting the dome from the sun+sky. As if you had someone facing the sun and were reading the light hitting them? "

Again there is no right or wrong but what you are going for. In the case you outline, you would be exposing for the backlight, so the person would be shadowy and the background would be better exposed.


"If this can't work I understand you can read a cloud that looks to be somewhat towards 18% and go for that. "

Yes.



"If you read the blue sky with a spot and set it to the stop you get it will turn out medium gray? And if so I assume you'd have to open a stop."

Yes, if you wanted your sky medium gray you would spot meter it and set that exposure. If you open up a stop then more light will get on the film or sensor and the sky no longer will be medium gray, so (again) it all depends what you want the sky to look like.

A photographer looks at a given scene and use experience and expertise to translate that to the final product, hopefully what he or she had anticipated.

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