I planned these shots yesterday when I knew we were going to have a nice sunny stretch of weather. I did the usual: check the times for sunsets, cleared my schedule so I would have the evening free, and made sure I had the right gear for the shoot. Mother Nature did not disappoint, as this sunset was one of the most grandest I have seen in a very long time. With cool air, few clouds, and hardly any smog (air pollution) the sky was perfect for using my 300mm lens without a tripod.
The above shot, I used full manual mode. (Actually, I shot in full manual mode in every shot today of this sunset). I cranked the fstop wide open, (f 6.4 on this lens) and set the ISO to 100. On my camera I can go as low a ISO50, but I did not want to push limit of this lens. It was the shutter speed that got me the Sun to the right exposure that I wanted, shooting at 1/8000 sec, again the maximum that my camera (SonyA77) can shoot with.
I used no filters in these shots. Normally I use a ND filter, and sometimes a polarizing filter, but the sky was really smooth, so I opted to shoot without any. I find I can get better super sharp images without the use of these filters than with. Less photoshop, if you know what I mean.
This image got re-tweeted the most when I uploaded them to my Twitter feed tonight. One friend of mine said he could see several faces in the clouds. Another friend was just blown away by the colours. I guess we all see something different in a image, even aspects I cannot see.
Overall, I shot 158 shots in this set. I started out with my 16-55mm Sony lens, then moved up to my Sigma 28-300mm (beer can) f3.5-6.5 zoom lens. Shooting with the 300mm lens was the only way to go shooting sunset shots. I only wish that I had a telephoto that could shoot f2.8, or wider for that more shallow depth of field I was looking for.
My goal was to get this silhouette effect in the foreground, and a really dynamic contrast in the background and focus area of the shot, but really try and make the colours stand out from the black. I think I really got close here.
The location of these shots was at the lookout spot at the North end of Brander Road, right on the edge of Glen Valley, at the North West end of Abbotsford, BC. In the last shot, above, I was shooting towards Surrey, BC, and I zoomed out to about 200mm.
Not a bad day for April 1st! And no, this is not a April fools day joke, this is real sunshine you are seeing here. This is the real deal. LOL