Photographing Sunsets

Capturing a sunset with both the Sun and the surrounding scene in one exposure is a challenge. In most sunset photos the Sun will appear as a very bright spot and the remaining scene goes very dark, this is due to the limited dynamic range of the Camera’s sensor in capturing brightness levels – our Human eyes excel in this!

In this post I have presented some example sunset photographs and the challenges I had to overcome to capture the same. Hope you enjoy the photographs and the photography tips.

Sunset from Chamundi Hill – My best Sunset capture till date!

Sunset from Chamundi Hill


Photo Metadata: Aperture = F/11, Exposure time = 1/1250 sec, Film speed = ISO 200, Exposure bias = -3.3 step

I have focused directly to the Sun, yet the image hasn’t turned into a bright red ball, this is due to two reasons:

1. Because of the extreme negative Exposure Bias (-3.3 step) which is set in the camera
2. Because of the reduced brightness of the Sun minutes before it sets

Of course, a tripod has been used, the exposure time is low (1/1250 sec), film speed is ISO-200 (lowest on my camera), which together aid in achieving the low exposure bias and reduce blur due to camera shake.

Sunset at Kandooma Island, Maldives – Photo taken during our vacation at Maldives

Sunset at Maldives


Photo Metadata: Aperture = F/18, Exposure time = 1/50 sec, Film speed = ISO 200, Exposure bias = -1.3 step

In this scene I was fortunate to have the Sun partially blocked and peaking through a gap in the clouds, hence reduction in the intensity of brightness. Another important aspect in this photograph is the large depth of focus – the nearer waves and the further clouds have come in focus – achieved by a small lens opening, Aperture == F/18 (it’s an optical property!).

Sunset at Kukkarahalli lake, Mysore – Photo taken with Canon Powershot S2 IS

kukkarahalli kere


Photo Metadata: Aperture = F/5, Exposure time = 1/1600 sec, Auto mode

This photo is a very different from the other two photos – the Sun’s reflection is out of focus and the tall grass is crisply in focus and what is achieved is a ‘Bokeh’, shallow depth of focus in photography terms. The ‘Bokeh’ is due to the relatively large lens opening, Aperture = F/5.


  1. brilliant pics…loved this post 🙂

  2. Great pictures and explanation

  3. Perfect exposure control there!

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