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Photographing a sunset.

Sunset over Stevenage
Sunset over Stevenage

I took a walk over the field after the children were in bed to get some shots of the sun setting.

I’d never shot a sunset before and  wasn’t sure how much exposure compensation if any to apply. Basically I found a place along the path where I could get a shot of the sun settling over the horizon and set the camera up on a tripod. I set  +/- 2 EV bracketing on the camera and tried a few test shots. +/- 2EV was wildly too much and I reset it to +/- 1EV.

After a while, as the sun settled lower in the sky I realised that the actual picture content was a bit boring so I moved along the path so I could get some trees into the left hand side of the frame. This actually meant that I could get some pictures  of the sun going behind the trees and then re-position myself to get the sun actually setting. One thing I hadn’t considered was that the sun was then sinking into the Glaxo Smith Klein plant on the edge of the field ! Not the most picturesque view.

All in all I think this shot is one of the better ones I took – although the sun hadn’t settled it has quite a pleasing look.

The final picture was produced with bibble 5 (which runs on ubuntu) from the RAW file produced by my Pentax K200D. I applied some lowlight exposure compensation to  get a bit of detail into the foreground and tweaked the colours a bit. I might also have a go at producing an HDR version using the 3 bracketed exposures.

Another thing which I found quite surprising was the number of people you meet walking from Stevenage to Knebworth along that field, and the number taking their dogs for a walk. It’s quite a social field !


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

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