Updated: Sep 21, 2020
As we are now approaching the summertime catching the sunrise is getting harder and harder with the early starts. Sunrise this morning was at 06.15 but I always like to get to the location in good time and get all the camera set-up in good time and ready for the twilight hour. The twilight time before sunrise is some of the best light for photography, even better than the sunrise itself. I had my hopes up for this sunrise as all the elements were in place for an epic sunrise. The high cloud, cold temperature and the moon was out.
You can see the twilight image I got on the way to location ready for sunrise. The moon was a perfect half moon and was an epic photo against the dark silhouette of the treeline and the deep blue sky.
How to get the perfect sunrise photo.....
With taking Sunrise or Sunset Landscape photos you need to be really careful not to blow out the highlights and at the same time not to have your shadows too dark. With some of the modern cameras, they have some very good dynamic range which can handle quite a lot of this and you can recover a lot of the shadows in post with lightroom or photoshop are some examples of photo editing software. I use a Sony A7 Mirrorless camera which has a full frame sensor as oppose to a crop sensor. Full Frame sensors can keep much more detail in the shadows and have much better dynamic range so if you can get a full frame sensor then these work really well for sunset and sunrise landscape photography.
To get all the image in focus from the foreground to the background and to keep all the exposure throughout the image I generally take a least two exposures of the same image. I take an exposure for the sky which will hold all the detail of the colours in the sky from the sun and then an exposure for the ground. When you take the photo for the sky, you will generally have a very dark foreground. The exposure for the foreground will then blow out the sky. Provided you have focused well in both images, then when you blend the two images together to get the perfectly exposed sky together with the perfectly exposed foreground all will be in focus too. Sometime you will need to take more than two images to get everything in focus and then focus stack your images in photoshop or lightroom. This does depend on the lens you are using to take the landscape photo and the camera that you are used to.
With all Landscape Photography, it is important that you have your camera in manual focus. This means that you can focus the camera manually onto the point in the image that you want in focus. With wide angle camera lens, such as 14mm all the way to maybe 24mm you will generally have to take a few exposures at different focal points to then blend in photoshop to create one overall image that is all in focus and is exposed perfectly.
You will need to have your camera on a tri-pod pretty much for all landscape photography. This keeps your camera steady and in the same position for when you are doing multiple exposures. When you are doing multiple exposures, it is important that each image is the same so that you can blend the images in lightroom or photoshop in post easier and without cropping your landscape image too much. It also works well when you are taking multiple focal points.