I just finished up a few days at the Olympus Visionary Summit. All the North American Visionaries get together once in a while with officials from Olympus to have fun, make pictures, eat together and give feedback on the camera system and what we’d like to see going forward. Olympus shares some ideas back and it is a great time.
This year we met in Tucscon at the Tanque Verde Ranch. It sits next to the East Unit of the Saguaro National Park. There were lots of cactus plants to photograph and I decided to make a sunset picture, minus birds!
I want to share three simple tips for making better sunset photographs that you can find employed in the making of today’s image.
In no particular order…
1. Use a circular polarizer to bring out the best colors and to better see the clouds. I use the Breakthrough Photography X2 Circular Polarizer. It is hands-down, the best value for the money given the fact that it has state-of-the-art glass and technology backed by a 25-year guarantee.
You just put the filter in front of your lens, turn it until you see the colors become more saturated and you’re ready to shoot.
2. Stop down to get the sun burst effect. I made this image at f/11. Because I use Olympus cameras, which deliver a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) through the electronic view finder, I could stop down until I saw the star burst and knew I had the right f/stop. This effect is easier to get on wider angle pictures because wider angle lenses tend to have more diaphragm blades.
I used the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 17mm f1.2 PRO Lens for this picture which has nine blades.
Try to position the sun so it intersects with an important part of your image. In this case I selected the cradle of the cactus arms for that job.
3. Find a good, interesting, foreground object for your sunset. While all sunsets are pretty, having a good foreground object that you can silhouette, really makes the photograph more attractive. The cactus was a fine foreground object.
I hope these tips have helped you. Give them a try and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun.
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