Sunset photography tips with Pete Leong
By David Higgins
Living on or near the Sunabe Seawall, you will witness magnificent sunsets almost every evening during the summer months. The sky swirls with pinks, yellows and oranges that ‘pop’ against a backdrop of a cool indigo blue expanse. Splatters of puffy white cumulus or stretches of striated stratus clouds wind towards the distant horizon. Your imagination follows.
These panoramas are truly stunning and have been known to insight the urge in many of us to snap photos that we hope will capture the magic moment with others in our expansive world of ether-friends. Upon posting, you will probably notice that many others have also felt this urge and are enthusiastically posting their exquisite sunset photos as well.
I happen to know just the man who can help me step up my sunset photography game, so I called up Peter Leong of Foto Shisa. If anyone understands how to capture unique quality sunsets through photography, it’s Pete. He teaches photography as well as being a professional photographer who consistently shoots captivating photos.
Immediately, Pete explained me that the first thing that I need to do is to be more mindful of what I include in my photos. The key to a strong photo is to search for areas of the sky that have psychedelic colors and interesting cloud patterns. Most of us are shooting with our phones instead of high-end cameras and if you use an iPhone 6s Plus then you are in luck because the camera in this phone has the capability to take killer sunset photos.
Pete recommends that you should take at least one panoramic shot in order to capture the expansiveness of the scenery unfolding before you.
Recently, Facebook added a new feature that enables the viewer to swipe the phone screen or move the computer mouse to explore the entire range of a panoramic photo.
Pete’s next tip is a simple one that will help careless photographers or those who do not stand up straight while taking a sunset photo with crooked or unbalanced horizon. Fortunately, these awkward landscapes can be edited within the phone by simply changing the tilt. It is difficult to get a sense of depth when you take a photo of the sky so by placing an object such as a rock, the ocean or a tree in the foreground, you can give the image a sense of perspective and depth as well as a context for the composition.
The final tip Pete provided me with was to not be in a hurry to leave once the sun has disappeared. Many of the best colors don’t actually appear until well after the sun has dropped below the horizon line. At this time of the evening, the wind usually dies down and the water becomes very still. With patience, persistence and a keen eye you could capture the image of that perfect sunset mirrored in the ocean beneath the horizon line. Pete showed me the most recent mirrored sunset photo that he had taken. I found it’s beauty so impressive that I seriously shed a man tear.
Hopefully, these tips have given you the inspiration and understanding of what it takes to begin to create sunset photos that your friends will click the Facebook ‘thumbs up’ or an Instagram ‘heart’ for.
As with any new endeavor, it takes time, perseverance and practice to develop the skill to develop an eye for perfect photo composition. Before you know it, your sunset photos may end up being the next sensation on the internet and the envy of all your online ‘friends.‘