Winter Sunset

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny interlude in the Bay area’s morass of soggy weather. Towards sunset, I grabbed Julian and we headed for Indian Rock. Julian climbed up, over, around, and through the rocks while I set up my tripod and long lens.

The sun was a giant round ball, and I had hopes of duplicating the series of photos that ended up as the cover for 100 Views of the Golden Gate.

It’s amazing how wrong camera light meters get the exposure for the sun. You almost can’t underexpose enough to get an appropriately exposed sun when it’s large in the photo. Using the kind of average exposure setting the camera gives you is likely to lead to an unattractive and dripping soft boiled egg yolk effect.

As a case in point, the camera wanted me to take this exposure at 1/640 of a second and f/10 at ISO 100. My exposure in fact was at 1/2000 of a second at f/20 and ISO 100, letting in something like 1/16 of the light of the suggested setting. (Comparing exposure-value pairs is explained in Chapter 1 of Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers.)

I wouldn’t have minded taking another, even darker, exposure. But I didn’t get the chance. The sun sank behind the cloud bank without ever appearing right behind the bridge as in my earlier series, the clouds covered the sky, and we had rain again today.

Worth noting: the not unattractive noise in the lower left of the image results from lightening up the extremely dark RAW exposure.

[Nikon D300, 240mm (360mm in 35mm terms), 1/2000 of a second at f/20 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

This entry was posted in Photography, San Francisco Area.

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