Sunset view from Vagamon

Sunset Views from Vagamon

First time trying to do some sunset landscape photography, from Vagamon. Vagamon is a hill station in the Western Ghats of Kerala, about 44 kilometers from Mundakayam and 23 kilometers from Erattupetta. The place is beautiful to shoot landscapes and sunsets with its unique meadows and greenery.

Sunset views from Vagamon

Sunset view from Vagamon, Date: 18-12-2013, time 5:38pm, the Sun was about to set. All three photos were taken from Vagamon meadows.

Sunset views from Vagamon

A view from another place just a few meters apart from the previous. Time 5:41pm.

Sunset views from Vagamon

The Sun had just gone behind the hills, time 5:54pm.

16-85mm lens was used with focal length set to 16mm and aperture f11 to get maximum depth of field without losing sharpness. Sunsets are a bit difficult to photograph, because if we expose the sky to get all the wonderful colors and clouds, ground will go black. If the ground is exposed, sky will be blown out. This is due to the low dynamic range of a camera sensor.  Simply speaking, dynamic range of a camera is its ability to capture details in both highlights and shadows, within a single photo. Even a modern pro DSLR with the highest dynamic range cannot resolve this issue. I think currently Nikon D800 has the highest dynamic range. Even Nikon D4 and Canon 1Dx, flagship cameras of Nikon and Canon respectively, has lower dynamic range.

There are some solutions to this. (1)To take multiple pictures in raw with different exposures and merge them using an editing software. For this a tripod is must. Otherwise photos will be misaligned. (2)Other is to use the in-camera HDR(High Dynamic Range) mode. But this will work with jpeg only. (3) Take a picture in raw with medium exposure, and then try to recover details in highlights and shadows in post-process. Although it is not very effective, it is worth trying if the contrast in the scene is not huge. This is what I did here. It did not necessarily require a tripod, as there was enough light to get a decent shutter speed.

I was not so confident while taking these pictures, as I had little experience and no planning or preparation. But as the pictures were taken in raw format, I was able to recover a lot of details in the highlights and shadows during post process. Landscape photography requires good planning and preparation to get nice results. Will try to make it better next time.

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