Quick Fix Fridays: Super Sunset Shots

I hope you get to see some great sunsets over the weekend. If you do, here are five quick tips to help you get great shots.

#1 Starburst Effect. When the sun is in the frame, set your aperture to f/22 to get the starburst effect. The wider the lens, the more pronounced the starburst effect. Also, make sure your lens is totally clean. Even a tiny speck of dust can look like a big blob in a picture when you are shooting into the sun. Location: Spearfish, South Dakota.

#2 No Filters. When shooting into the sun, remove all filters from your lens, even your skylight filter. When a filter is on your lens, the sunlight passes through the filter and may (depending on the angle of the sun) bounce off the front element of your lens and back onto the filter, creating a ghost image of the sun in your frame. Location: Key West, Florida.

#3 Foreground Element. Whenever possible, use a foreground element to add a sense of scale to your photograph. Also, the more "layers" you have in a scene, the greater the sense of depth. Here there are three layers: bird in the foreground, birds in mid-frame, and the mountains/sun in the background. Location: Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

#4 Silhouettes. When photographing someone against a sunrise or sunset, have him or her look directly left or right so you can see his or her profile. If they look at the camera, you will not be able to recognize them. Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

#5 Expose for the Highlights. In high-contrast situations, it’s important to expose for the highlights. Make sure your camera’s highlight alert feature is activated and avoid "blinkies." Also check your histogram and make sure you don’t have a big spike on the right. Location: Spearfish, South Dakota.

Have a fun and creative weekend! Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.

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