Cap­ture the set­ting sun

Try our Big Project: cre­ate an im­age that goes from day to night in one frame

NPhoto - - News -

Whether you’re shoot­ing a sun­rise or a sun­set, pick­ing the per­fect time to take the shot can be chal­leng­ing. The range of colours, tones and the dis­tri­bu­tion of light over time can mean tak­ing mul­ti­ple images, all with merit in their own right. So why not com­bine the images into a sin­gle photo show­ing the con­trast be­tween day and night?

A quick word of warn­ing to any­one who is firmly anti-Pho­to­shop: this project in­volves plenty of edit­ing, but it’s eas­ier than it looks, and it can re­sult in some­thing much more dra­matic than a sin­gle frame.

As any pho­tog­ra­pher who’s dragged them­selves out of bed for a sun­rise (or braved the dis­ap­pear­ing light for a sun­set) knows, cap­tur­ing the full majesty of the mo­ment can be a chal­lenge. The con­trast be­tween day and night can only re­ally be seen over a pe­riod of a few hours, and as such is tra­di­tion­ally only cap­tured in a se­ries of in­di­vid­ual images or a time-lapse.

This tu­to­rial gives you the tools to cap­ture all the colours and con­trast in one photo. Get­ting well-ex­posed, sharp images be­fore and af­ter­wards is dif­fi­cult enough to mas­ter, es­pe­cially as long ex­po­sures are re­quired. Hav­ing limited time to catch the stages of the sun­set means prepa­ra­tion is re­quired, as un­like a tra­di­tional sun­set shoot, you’ll be us­ing more than one photo. Al­ter­ing set­tings while the light­ing is chang­ing takes a bit of prac­tice, too, but the Pho­to­shop tech­niques used are ba­sic enough to mas­ter quickly, and with a bit of prac­tice and some ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, you’ll soon have day-to-night images you can be proud of. Here’s how it’s done...

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