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Photography Tips by Pablo Raw

Sunsets at the Mall

This time of the year presents us with some interesting opportunities for photography, Allow me to go back to an older column and explain this a little bit better since I think you’ll find this knowledge useful.

Go to, write Washington, DC on the “search for city” space and then look at the “sun and moon” tab. Make sure the information shown is about the sun (body) and the columns shown are rise/set time/azimuth. If you change any of the parameters, then hit “show” since it doesn’t change automatically.

Don’t be turned away by the word “azimuth”, the following information will help you understand what this is. Look for the information about March 19 (this Saturday!), the azimuth for the sunrise and the sunset are 90 degrees and 270 degrees respectively. Now imagine you are standing at the Washington Monument at 7:14 am this Saturday. North is zero degrees, The Capitol Building (East) is 90 degrees and the Lincoln Memorial (West) is 270 degrees.

All this is to explain that you’ll see the Sun rising behind The Capitol building at 7:14 and setting behind the Lincoln Memorial at 7:19 pm. There is an interesting optical illusion that the sun is bigger as it comes or shows next to the horizon and the buildings.

There are different techniques that can be used to photograph the sunrise or sunset. You may want to meter close to the sun to get some interesting silhouettes or maybe use software like Photomatix to create HDR or fuse images. The last one is what I’ve been using recently in order to show the sun but also the details of buildings, trees, etc. I have never used a graded ND filter for this kind of photography, I guess it can also be used, but the good ones are more expensive than HDR software so for now I’ll stick to the software.

Continues after the jump.

Make sure you are ready some 20 minutes before sunrise and keep shooting after sunset, since usually at that time the colors of the sky are jut amazing. And the clouds could make an amazing sunset even better!

Make sure you never look at the sun directly or through the camera to avoid causing damage to your eyes.

What techniques do you use to photograph sunsets and sunrises?


National Cathedral

M Street

Lincoln Memorial

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