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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:37 pm 
On my journey to work I drive down a very busy dual carriageway and at a certain point there's a great spot where I've been trying to get a shot of the sun rising over some fields (it's actually about 20 minutes before the run rises). The spot is on a grass bank and at the top there's an old falling down wooden fence that silhouettes really well against the sky.

My question is;

What is the minimum shutter speed that one *should* use when photographing sunrise/set shots? (without image stabilisation) And also, what are the recommended shutter speed / aperture settings for shooting in these conditions?

The shots I got back weren't the best. I admit I felt a little rushed as it was cold and cars were driving by at 80mph (not the best of conditions to take your time in). The shots I got back were either not very sharp because the shutter was too slow (and I was freezing) or the colours were different from what I was seeing because I was compensating with a larger aperture.

When the conditions are right, I'd like to try again but need some help. :)

Thanks in advance.

Ben


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Hmm, TelexStar,
20 Minutes before sunrise? I asume the like is quite low. Did you crank up the ISO to 800?
B.t.w. Do you stop the car in some parking lot or is this just a drive-by shooting :shock:
Posting your results so far and giving the exact picture datas would help the community to help you...

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:07 am 
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Hi Ben, there is no minimum or ideal setting for this kind of thing, apart from selecting a shutter speed to counteract any camera shake - see later.

If I were you, I'd take the photo using Program mode as a starter, then evaluate the result. If it's too shaky? Then choose a faster shutter speed or use a tripod. Is it too bright? Choose negative exposure compensation like -1EV. Is it too dark? Choose positive compensation like +1EV.

Personally speaking I always find auto settings overexpose when I'm taking sunsets or sunrises, so I always deliberately underexpose to stop the colours looking washed-out. It's all a matter of experimenting until you get the result you want. Sometimes I have to use as much as -2EV compensation.

As for shutter speeds, I'm assuming you're using your 18-135mm fully zoomed-in to 135mm. This is equivalent to just over 200mm on your DSLR, so conventional camera wisdom would recommend a shutter speed of at least 1/200 of a second to avoid camera shake. But if it's colder, or you're more shaky, then maybe 1/250 - 1/500 would be safer.

So you could start with Shutter Priority and set it it to say, 1/250. The camera will then try and find an aperture to match, but if it's too dark, you'll need to increase the ISO - maybe to 400 or 800 ISO. Then take the photo and check your results. If it's too bright for example, use negative exposure compensation to darken it, such as -1 EV.

You may also wish to play with the white balance. Daylight, rather than Auto can often retain the colours better in this situation.

But yep, as Thomas says, if you post the image here or on flickr, then we can have a look and give you some better tips!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:22 pm 
Ok, this was taken at f8 - 1/100 @ ISO 1600. As you can see, it's not great. http://www.flickr.com/photos/55966588@N00/380843242/

There's quite a bit of noise in the sky and in hindsight, I think it was just too early and the light wasn't available for a hand-held shot. It was just impossible for me to find an exposure that maintained the colour in the sky and bring out a little bit of detail in the landscape.

I need to learn to catch this at the right time. 10-15 minutes too early/late and the light totally changes.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:10 pm 
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Hi TelexStar,
now I see what type of photo your aiming at. Yes, that's the time where the light changes with every minute!
Reading your data, I wondered why you didn't reduce shutter speed to 1/50sec (at 28mm focal length) and opened the aperture to 5,6 or even 4. That should be enough to turn ISO down to 400 and give a nice low noise pic. To stabilize your shot, perhaps you can at least lean at your car.
Also you could zoom out a little more (wider) so that camera shake is less likely to ruin your shot. This type of pic comes out quite well, when you can see a lot of sky, also your depth of field increases with a wider focal length.
I did somethig similar, see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38912116@N00/373755621/ with 20mm F/3,8 1/60 ISO-200 (plus the built in flash for the tree...) on standard automatic. Although I admit that the lens has optical stabilization, but the 1/60sec should easily be enough.

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