Sunrise and sunset can give you some of the most dramatic pictures nature has to offer. Here are some tips on how to capture these visual treasures with ease.

Take advantage of camera settings

  • Use the sunset mode (works the same for sunrise) on your camera. It automatically sets the best focus and exposure (no flash) for your lighting conditions. The white balance (WB) will be set to daylight to capture and keep the warm shift in color balance.  
  • If you have a subject in the foreground of your sunset / sunrise, use the night scene mode (night flash) setting on your camera to illuminate the subject.
  • Night scene is especially good for taking a picture of a person with the sunset or a campfire in the background. Use a tripod or rest your hands on a rock or log to steady the camera.
  • Panorama mode:   what has more impact than a standard format picture of a sunrise or sunset?      A breathtaking panorama of the whole horizon!

Place the horizon off center

  • Don’t put the horizon in the middle of the frame.
  • Place the horizon in the bottom third of the frame, and let the sky dominate the scene.
  • Lower your horizon line and showcase the changing colors of the sky.

Include a silhouette

  • Add some depth and perspective to your photos. Turn off your camera’s flash option and add a silhouette in the foreground, such as your canoe, a person, a stringer of fish, or a lone leaning pine tree.
  • Moose and wolves are the two north country animals most sought after for photos.  Dusk and dawn are the prime time to look for these icons.  The best areas for both are along the Isabella and Kawishiwi Rivers, and shallow lakes like North and South Wilder.

Take your time

Start early:

  • Take a few test shots to determine which camera settings you like best.
  • Claim the best location for the show.
  • Set up your tripod and equipment.
  • Spot animals and add their silhouettes to your picture.

Stay late:

  • The color of the sky changes minute-by-minute.
  • If your camera has a timed exposure mode, put your camera on a tripod, do a test shot to get the shot you want, then set the timer to take a picture every 30 seconds, or minutes until the sun comes up or goes down.