Tag Archives: city

How to photograph stunning sunsets

It is easy to photograph sunsets, they are already beautiful by nature. But there’s a difference between good photos and stunning images of a sunset.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Acapulco, Mexico
The sun setting behind a hill in Acapulco, Mexico

Find a focus point

There’s nothing more boring than just a picture of some nicely colored clouds. I mean, come on, anyone can take photos like that.

So, let’s take a look around and check if there’s anything between you and the sun that catches your attention. Maybe it’s a person, maybe a plane in the sky, maybe a boat on the water. Look for anything that makes your picture more interesting. And then try to play around with it. Just because something is your focus point, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the center of your photo – and neither does the sun have to be.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Maayafushi, Maledives
A water plane taking off in Maayafushi, Maledives

Create a silhouette

With the sun behind your object, you will see strong backlighting, which means that the object will appear rather dark and just as a silhouette.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico

In this case, that’s the desired effect. Now you have to make sure that your camera won’t ruin this moment. When you are in auto mode, there is a possibility that your camera will try to increase the brightness so your object in front becomes visible. There are a few tricks how to prevent that:

  • Most cameras nowadays have a special settig for sunsets. Active it and you are fine.
  • Manually adjust the exposure of the image. If you don’t know how to do this, keep reading.
  • If you are in auto mode, aim directly on the sun, press down the shutter button until the camera focuses, then move back to the object and press down the shutter button completely.
  • If your object isn’t too close, just switch on the flash. Thereby, you will make your camera believe that the flash will do the work of lighting up the scene and won’t automatically change other settings.
How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico

 Take another look around

It’s easy to get lost on the beauty of this huge fire ball right in front of you. But sometimes it’s best to turn your back on the sun. The setting sun will throw a beatiful light on everything around you. Maybe the best motive isn’t in front of you, it’s behind you.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Paris, France
The last rays of sunlight crawling over Paris, France

Hurry up!

It’s easy to get lost in the menus of your camera trying to find just the right setting for this image, but there’s nothing more aggravating than looking up from your camera and to realize that the moment has passed.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Maayafushi, Maledives
Maayafushi, Maledives

You will see that a sunset actually takes place faster than you might think. More importantly, everything around you changes as well. Maybe clouds disappear in minutes, maybe they suddenly block the sun, maybe your focus point moves away. The perfect moment can be over in split second. So when you can take the perfect shot, but your camera isn’t set up correctly, go for it anyway. I’ve missed too many good shots because I chose to configure my camera before taking it. Don’t do that. In post-editing you still improve your picture immensely, so nothing’s lost if the colors aren’t all right. A “bad” photo is always better than no photo at all.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Paris, France
Paris, France

Be ready for more

So far, we’ve just covered the basics. For now, you’re good to go and play around a little bit with your camera. You can check online when the sun sets in your city, so let’s get going.

In another article I’ll explain how you can techniques such as HDR to create even more stunning images of sunsets.

How to photograph beautiful sunsets: Paris, France
Paris, France in an HDR shot

Better ideas?

As always, I’m interested what you think. Let me know how my tips worked out for you or if you have made different experiences.

Rocket Science

Let me start the new year with some photos, I snapped a few years ago.

Rocket Science

At this time, I didn’t have a great camera and even though I was shooting with high exposure, the photos were in my opinion quite decent.

Rocket Science

As you might see, I was pretty fascinated with the rockets blasting off into the night sky.

Rocket Science

Rocket Science

Rocket Science

Yesterday / this morning I took some other photos, I’ll post them too these days.

Geeks with Ambition

If you wanna be the next Zuckerberg and you happen to live in Germany, there is only one place to go: Berlin. The capital of Germany is THE place for geeks with ambition. We are talking a billion startups starting up every day. In a nutshell, the city is crowded with hipsters.

For some reason, these hipsters have made a habit of working most of the day in coffee shops. I don’t know what it is to sit in these crowded places with their overpriced cookies and coffees and work. Maybe it’s all about “see and be seen”, sitting there with your fancy MacBook and a Club Mate pretending to work on a super secret app that is gonna change the world…

Coffee Shop in Berlin

But at least the wifi is for free…

Coffee Shop in Berlin

The Hue of You

When I walked through the streets of a small town in France called Roussillon, I was immediately fascinated by the colors of the houses. While in Latin America one town is more colorful than the next one, sadly you don’t find much of that in Europe.

The Colors of Roussillon

This town was different, for one part because colors have always been an important aspect of this French town, as it is well know for the production of ochre.

The Colors of Roussillon

While many houses shared the color ochre as the basic color of their walls, all of them varied in hue as well as the color of the doors and window frames.

The Colors of Roussillon

Each house had it’s very own combination of colors, so much unlike the anonymity of a big city. In this town the houses possessed a character, just like the people living inside them.

The Colors of Roussillon

Wintertime Sadness

Last winter I visited Frankfurt and while being on the subway I took this photo. What fascinated me were the faces of the people – all of them seemed to be depressed and in a bad mood, sick of the long winter in Germany:

On the Subway

The floor of the train is still full of water from the snow, carried by the shoes of everyone. It makes everything look dirty and not like a comfortable place. For this mood, a black and white picture felt appropriate. I think it’s the perfect portrait of a long winter – without showing any snow.

The Pirate Bay

There is a place that you always dreamed of: A place where you can find clothes of all brands, a collection of movies and games bigger than you have seen in any shop or videostore, the newest phones, biggest TVs – and everything cheaper than you’ll ever find it. Too good to be true? Well, there’s a downside: One way or another, it’s all pirated.

La Bahia

La Bahia (the bay) in Guayaquil, Ecuador is a street market full of copied DVDs, stolen phones and fake brands. While this is not true for all the market, it’s true for a large part of it. If you have been robbed some days before, there is a good chance that you can buy back your phone right here.

At the same time it is a fascinating place. Most of the market consists of little stands that stretch across various street blocks, other vendors sell from houses, for some business you might even walk into the backyards.

La Bahia

Now, how do you take photos in a place like this? As a friend told me before, people there are not too excited to see someone running around with a camera – and this coming from a local, now imagine a white boy with his Sony NEX. I decided to go for my old Nokia N95. Even though being from 2007, the camera in the phone has 5 Megapixels and decent image quality. In order to shoot fast I switched the autofocus to infinite. The results were surprisingly good. First of all, shooting was incredibly fast, I didn’t raise too much attention with my small phone and the image quality was overall satisfying.

La Bahia

If you ever come to Guayaquil, make sure to check out this market. It is worth a look. However, while it might be tempting, I wouldn’t buy any used electronics, then after all in many cases this means supporting armed robbery. So just enjoy some window shopping in the pirate bay.

Mainhattan

When I come to Frankfurt in Germany, I am always impressed with the skyline. In my opinion, no other place gets closer to (the way more impressive) skyline of New York. Therefore, you might come across two nicknames of the city: “Mainhattan” and “Big Äpplewoi”, both in obvious connection to New York. “Mainhattan” is a mix of Main (the river that runs trough Frankfurt) and Manhattan, while “Big Äpplewoi” is a mix of “Big Apple” and a famous regional beverage, Apfelwein – cider.

While being only the second tallest tower in the city, the Commerzbank Tower is most likely the most impressive building so far. It can basically be seen from everywhere in the city.

Frankfurt, Commerzbank Tower

And Frankfurt is far from being done: As of now, there are 72 high-rise buildings under construction, approved or proposed for construction.